London Report: Strong gains from miners push FTSE close to 2013 peak

TOP shares steadied near last year’s peak yesterday, propped up by steep gains from miners on optimism over the global economy and upbeat analyst comment.

Miners added the most points to the FTSE yesterday. The FTSE 350 Mining Index rose 3.2 per cent while Rio Tinto firmed 2.5 per cent after reporting big increases in production.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index, which yesterday had closed at an eight-month high, closed down 4.44 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 6,815.42 points – hovering close to its 2013 high of 6,875. Despite strength seen already in equities, analysts remain positive given encouraging signs from the world’s largest economy, with data yesterday showing a drop in US jobless claims suggesting a sharp step-down in job growth in December was likely to be temporary.

Question marks remain over whether the overall market justifies such high valuations after a bumper 2013, but a significant underperformance seen from the miners last year has restored value to the sector.