BRITAIN’S top share index closed higher yesterday for a fourth straight day, led by miners buoyed by firmer metals prices and offsetting a sharp fall in BP.
The FTSE 100 index closed up 38.45 points, or 0.7 per cent, at 5,202.13, its highest close
since 3 June.
Mining stocks added the most points to the blue chip index as major base metals hit one-
week highs, with Kazakhmys, Anglo American and Xstrata up 3.3-4.3 per cent.
Banks, sensitive to fluctuations in investor appetite for risk, found support, with global
heavyweight HSBC up 0.7 per cent and Standard Chartered adding 1.6 per cent.
Barclays put on 3.6 per cent. Its investment bank arm said it plans to launch a European
“dark pool” trading platform, building on its US platform as part of plans to expand its equities business globally.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) added 1.9 per cent. Santander, the Spanish bank, is set to
buy 318 bank branches from RBS, having submitted an indicative offer of about £2bn in
BP shed 9.3 per cent, topping the FTSE 100 list of fallers, on lingering doubts about the
outlook for dividends as it faces the costs of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
BP’s board was set to meet yesterday to discuss whether it will cut or defer its second-quarter dividend.
BG Group and Royal Dutch Shell added 0.7 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively,
supported by a firmer crude price and an upgrade in stance for the European integrated
oils sector to “bullish” from “neutral” by Nomura.
Back among the blue chip fallers, Home Retail Group fell 0.9 per cent as JP Morgan cut
its rating on the owner of Argos catalogue and Homebase home goods stores to “underweight” from “overweight” following last week’s trading update.
Also on Monday the government’s newly created Office for Budget Responsibility said Britain’s economy will grow slower from 2011 than the previous Labour government expected but state borrowing will fall slightly faster than originally thought.