FTSE buoyed by commodity price rebound

The FTSE came within a nudge of 6,000 today as strong gains by commodity prices strengthened mining stocks, while property companies topped the gainers.

The FTSE 100 closed at 5,923.49, above the 5,860 support level, as risk appetite returned to the market, helped by positive economic data showing UK unemployment fell for a second consecutive month in April.

Property companies were most in demand after real estate giant Land Securities posted superb quarterly results, pushing it up 6.4 per cent to close at 795.5p.

“Real estate firms have led the way after Land Securities posted a 14 per cent increase in profits, way above analyst expectations, and this has dragged its sector peers British Land and Hammerson up on its coat-tails,” said CMC Market analyst Michael Hewson.

British Land finished 4.6 per cent higher at 604.5p.

Intelligent software maker Autonomy gained another 4.3 per cent today to end at 1,810p on yesterday’s news that it bought cloud computing assets from Iron Mountain for £235m.

Chipmaker ARM Holdings recouped yesterday’s losses, adding 3.7 per cent to finish at 576p after broker Evolution Securities began coverage of the stock and rated it ‘add’.

Miners dominated the gainers as copper prices jumped and gold and silver also rose.
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. gained the most ground, ending 4.3 per cent up at 841p after Citigroup lifted its rating on the company to "buy". It was followed by peers Randgold Resources and Kazakhmys.

Energy companies also benefited from a rebound in crude oil prices on the back of a weaker US dollar.

Indian oil group Essar Energy closed 3.3 per cent higher at 438.5p while UK energy supplier BG Group rose 3.1 per cent to end at 1,373p after an upgrade to "buy" from broker UBS.

On the downside, supermarket group Sainsbury’s fell most on the FTSE 100, closing three per cent lower at 344p after going ex-dividend. HSBC and insurer Admiral also fell for the same reason.

The rising risk appetite prompted heavyweight stocks such as 3i, Scottish & Southern Energy, Serco, Capita and Aggreko to fall.

RBS also lost one per cent to close at 41.7p.

US markets also closed in the black after a series of positive earnings announcements from companies such as Abercrombie and Fitch, which delivered per-share earnings of more than double analyst expectations, and heavy equipment provider Deere, which also beat market forecasts.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 80.60 points, or 0.7 per cent, to end at 12,560.18. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 11.7 points, or 0.9 per cent, to finish at 1,340.68. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 31.79 points, or 1.14 per cent, to close at 2,815.00.