Every little helps as Tesco boosts FTSE

Tesco proved that every little helps by assisting the FTSE to a healthy rise in early trading.

The supermarket group admitted last night that it is considering giving up on its struggling US venture, exciting investors who have grown exasperated with the company's inability to transfer its success to the other side of the Atlantic.

Philip Dorgan, an analyst at Panmure Gordon, said the announcement "is a clear signal to the market that management is prepared to take tough decisions" and raises the prospect of "more significant drivers of shareholder value" to come.

Shares in the firm gained 2.6 per cent to £3.35 in early trading.

Overall, London's leading blue chip index was up 31 points – or 0.5 per cent – cracking the psychologically important 5,900 barrier thanks to the combined efforts of retail and mining.

The resources sector was boosted due to hope that policies designed to stimulate growth in China will support the copper price.

Vedanta topped the leaderboard, rising 4.2 per cent, although Anglo American, Evraz and Kazakhmys were not far behind. Almost every other resource-related stock on the index rose by at least one per cent, obscuring other sectors.

Outsourcer Serco was a rare exception to the rule, up 1.7 per cent.

Banking giant HSBC added one per cent after selling its stake in a Chinese insurer for $9.4bn.

Defensive stocks, such as Associated British Foods, Severn Trent and Land Securities were the biggest fallers.

In the FTSE 250 Argos owner Home Retail Group led the gains, up 7.9 per cent after Bank of America Merill Lynch upgraded the stock.

In Asia the Nikkei was up 0.4 per cent and the Hang Seng added 2.2 per cent.