THURSDAY MARKET CLOSE: Miners help Footsie flirt with 6,900

Centrica added 5.5p to reach 336.3p. But shares in Aggreko fell more than 4 per cent. Picture: PA
Centrica added 5.5p to reach 336.3p. But shares in Aggreko fell more than 4 per cent. Picture: PA
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RENEWED risk appetite and the continuing wave of bid interest from across the Atlantic kept the London market on the front foot.

The FTSE 100 Index shrugged off a worse-than-expected downward revision of US first-quarter GDP to close 20.07 points higher at 6,871.29.

Chris Beauchamp, market analyst, IG, said: “The FTSE has remained confidently in positive territory all day, flirting with a push towards 6,900. Risk assets are in favour, with miners boosted by a more optimistic outlook on the Australian economy.”

Among the diggers, Antofagasta was up 7p at 804.5p and BHP Billiton added 18.5p to 1,940.5p.

Takeover talk remained the key driver for many shares, with Smith & Nephew making gains for a second day running as analysts said a buyout by US rival Stryker made sense. Shares in the medical equipment maker climbed 35.5p or 3.5 per cent to 1,029p, despite the previous day’s denial of interest from Stryker.

The danger of missing expectations was demonstrated by Kingfisher, which saw shares slump almost 5 per cent despite a 9.7 per cent like-for-like sales rise for its B&Q chain.

The stock slipped or 20.3p, to 397p as it became apparent customers had failed to spend the better weather engaging in sustained bouts of DIY. The sentiment rubbed off on the FTSE 250’s Home Retail Group, owner of DIY rival Homebase, where shares fell 3p to 193.8p.

Elsewhere, the departure of British Gas boss Chris Weston saw its owner Centrica add 5.5p to reach 336.3p. But shares in temporary power firm Aggreko, where Weston is to become chief executive, fell more than 4 per cent. The Glasgow-based firm was down 78p to 1,671p as it said long-serving finance chief and interim boss Angus Cockburn was leaving.