FTSE 100 steadies near highest level since 2008

The blue chip index was steady this morning, flatlining near its highest level in four and a half years at the start of a busy week for FTSE 100 earnings news.

Buoyant copper prices pushed up Eurasian Natural Resources and Chilean miner Antofagasta, up 1.27 per cent and 0.8 per cent respectively.

Russian precious metals miner Polymetal rose 1.25 per cent. This morning, Russian gold miner Polyus Gold – which has been the subject of speculation that it could merge with Polymetal – reported a 12 per cent increase in refined gold output.

Explorer JKX Oil & Gas rose seven per cent in early deals, as it announced the placing of a $40m convertible bond.

Elsewhere, holiday firm Thomas Cook was up 6.33 per cent.

As for the blue chip fallers, Capita was the biggest loser in early trading, as broker Canaccord Genuity cut its rating to “sell” from “hold”.

Steelmaker Evraz sank 1.47 per cent, while oil giants BG Group and Tullow Oil rose 1.46 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively.

On the wider index, Premier Foods plunged 10.8 per cent as it was announced that its chief executive resigned after 18 months in the job.

Central European coal miner New World Resources fell more than six per cent, as it said the price it could sell its thermal coal at last year fell.

Banking shares had a positive morning. HSBC rose 0.87 per cent, RBS was up 0.33 per cent, Barclays added 0.62 per cent and Lloyds Banking Group was up 0.29 per cent.

In Asia, the Nikkei closed down 0.94 per cent, while in the US the Dow Jones closed up 0.51 per cent.