Mining firms and Tesco help push UK’s bluechip index up 0.4 per cent

MINING stocks helped Britain’s main share index rise yesterday on expectations of stronger demand from China, offsetting lingering concerns about the US and European economies.

Miners added 1.8 per cent after the head of China’s Communist Party said the world’s largest consumer of metals will approve policies targeted aimed at helping the economic recovery.

Britain’s FTSE 100 closed up 23.04 points, or 0.4 per cent at 5,892.08 points, with miners adding 11 points to the index and contributing six of the seven top gainers in percentage terms.

Also boosting the index was supermarket Tesco, which rose 3.3 per cent in volume of more than three times the daily average, after unveiling a solid third-quarter trading update and launching a strategic review of its money-losing United States chain Fresh & Easy.

The FTSE has failed to push above resistance at 5,900 three times in the past week, in a sign appetite for equities is capped as investors fret about fiscal negotiations in the United States and Spain’s ongoing debt issues.

Eurozone concerns took some shine off the FTSE yesterday after struggling Spain failed to place the full amount of bonds on sale at an auction.

In a show of how the euro zone crisis is affecting UK-listed stocks, shares in Sage Group fell 3.5 per cent in volume one and a half times the average after the software company said tough conditions for small businesses in France and Spain would drag on growth in 2013.