Land Securities and miners lead the FTSE index to gains

STRONG energy stocks and miners drove Britain’s top shares higher yesterday as investors welcomed results from Land Securities.

The FTSE 100 index ended up 62.49 points, or 1.1 per cent, at 5,923.49.

Other London indices followed suit, with the FTSE 250 closing up 51.55 points, or 0.4 per cent at 11,887.54 and the FTSE AIM 100 gaining 7.58 points to end at 3,973.13.

While the top index managed to erase the previous session’s 1.1 per cent drop on the back of weak US housing data, concerns about the strength of the recovery lingered.

“It just feels very lacklustre. There are very poor volumes. Everyone’s just a bit worried about the economy. I can’t see what’s going to spur it on,” said Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital.

Rallying metals prices helped miners bounce back after a recent sell-off, with investor sentiment buoyant in advance of a heavily oversubscribed IPO from commodities trader Glencore.

Eurasian Natural Resources was the best off, up 4.3 per cent, as Citigroup lifted its rating on the company to “buy”.

“Miners are firm today ahead of the Glencore IPO but it does start to feel as if everybody owns the market already and the marginal buyer has gone on holiday,” said Lex van Dam, hedge fund manager at Hampstead Capital.

“The next few days will be critical for the direction of the market over the next couple of months,” he said.

It was a similar story with integrated oil stocks, which rebounded from recent losses in tandem with crude, with BG Group leading the charge, up 3.1 per cent, after an upgrade to “buy” from UBS.

India-focused refiner and power generator Essar Energy added 3.3 per cent, with traders citing an upgrade from Morgan Stanley as a catalyst after Tuesday’s results.

Land Securities was the standout FTSE 100 riser, up 6.4 per cent, after the landlord and developer posted a double-digit rise in full-year net asset value, prompting Panmure Gordon to hike its target price for the stock.

Buyers came in for other real estate investment trusts. British Land, due to unveil full-year results on 23 May, added 4.6 per cent, Hammerson climbed 3.2 per cent, and Capital Shopping Centres was 1.2 per cent firmer.

Elsewhere, British oil services and engineering group AMEC rose 1.8 per cent after buying US engineer MACTEC to boost its presence in North America in a deal that will be earnings enhancing this year. On the downside, Compass Group slipped 0.7 per cent as investors locked in profits after a strong run-up by the stock as the caterer reported solid first-half results.

Admiral, HSBC and Sainsbury all fell after going ex-dividend.

Outside the top flight, Centamin Egypt rose 9.5 per cent to be the top riser in the FTSE on the back of rising gold prices. The firm was closely followed by mining peers Anglo Pacific, which rose 9.1 per cent, and Anglesey Mining, which added 6.1 per cent.

Cineworld rose 5.9 per cent after its quarterly results were better than feared, despite slow progress on rolling out 3D films.

Wilmington Group was the biggest faller, down 15.6 per cent, after the training group disappointed on its interim management statement.