MONDAY MARKET CLOSE: Mining stocks avert Greek tragedy

EasyJet nosed down 36p. Picture: Craig Stephen
EasyJet nosed down 36p. Picture: Craig Stephen
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Strong gains among commodity stocks helped the London market overcome fears over fresh national elections in Greece, which could derail its bail-out programme.

The Athens stock exchange closed down almost 4 per cent, having tumbled more than 11 per cent earlier in the day, after politicians failed to elect a new president. The move forced prime minister Antonis Samaras to announce that the country is likely to go to the polls again on 25 January.

David Madden, market analyst at IG, said: “Many indebted eurozone nations have made strides to shore up their finances while Greece still struggles to keep up, and perhaps it is time Brussels accepts that the model doesn’t work for everyone. As we enter a new chapter in the Greek saga, traders will be staying clear of eurozone stocks.”

In London, a rise in the price of gold helped to prop up miners such as Fresnillo, which ended the day up 19.5p at 749.5p, while Anglo American rose 32.5p, or 2.8 per cent, to 1,214.5p.

Gains in the commodities sector saw the FTSE 100 Index close up 23.58 points at 6,633.51, marking its eighth positive session in a row.

Tony Cross, market analyst at Trustnet Direct, said: “It’s been a relatively benign session for London traders despite the fact that a significant question mark now hangs over the future of the eurozone.”

The biggest blue-chip faller was telecoms giant BT, down 11.2p or 2.7 per cent at 405.5p. Commercial property group Land Securities fell 27p to 1,157p and budget airline EasyJet nosed down 36p to finish the day at 1,642p.

Outside the top flight, oil and gas explorer Afren dropped 3.02p, or 6.2 per cent, to 45.98p while Exillion Energy was another heavy faller, ending the session down 8p, or 5.7 per cent, at 132p.