G20 agreement on currencies propels FTSE 100 up despite fall in bank stocks

BRITAIN’S top shares ended higher yesterday, supported by strength in miners as metals and crude prices rose amid a weaker dollar after G20 finance ministers agreed to avoid competitive currency devaluations.

At the close, the FTSE 100 was up 10.61 points, or 0.2 per cent, at 5,751.98, just below last Thursday’s six-month closing high. It hit a 5,794.31 high during the session.

Heavyweight miners led the blue chips advance as copper prices rose to a 27-month high after the dollar fell following the agreement at the weekend G20 meeting of finance ministers.

Chilean copper miner Antofagasta was the top FTSE riser, up 4.1 per cent, helped by a Goldman Sachs upgrade to “buy” from “neutral”.

“Miners provided London’s fuel but as the session wore on there was little else to keep up the momentum, and so Wall Street saw its early gains eroded, along with the FTSE,” said Mic Mills, head of electronic trading at ETX Capital.

Away from commodities, Burberry was a strong gainer, up 3.2 per cent as investors speculated LVMH’s purchase of a minority stake in Hermes may spark bid interest in the sector.

On the second line, spill-over speculative interest saw the London Stock Exchange gain five per cent after Singapore Exchange’s A$8.4bn (£5.3bn) agreed takeover bid for Australian ASX.
Banks, were weak, however, with Lloyds Banking Group the worst blue-chip perfomer, down 5.4 per cent after Credit Suisse cut its target for the state-backed bank.

Elsewhere, Invensys shed 2.8 per cent as UBS cut its rating to “neutral” from “buy” in a review of capital goods stocks, saying the sector may have “overshot fair value”.