Mining gains prop up FTSE

Gains in heavyweight miners kept Britain's main share index flat this morning, as solid results from Randgold Resources and expectations of fresh stimulus measures from China propped up the equity markets.

The <strong>FTSE 100</strong> was down 0.08 per cent, as <strong>Randgold</strong> rose 3.1 per cent after reporting a 10 per cent rise in second-quarter profit. The mining sector performed well, with <strong>Vedanta Resources</strong> and <strong>Anglo American</strong> both gaining 0.35 per cent, and <strong>Antofagasta</strong> up 0.9 per cent.

<strong>Glencore</strong> was up 1.7 per cent, along with <strong>Xstrata</strong> which gained 1 per cent.

<strong>Standard Chartered</strong> continued yesterday's rally, gaining 3.5 per cent, as the bank continued to fight back against a threat by a US regulator to remove its licence due to its dealings with Iran.

The rest of the banking sector was mixed. <strong>Barclays</strong> nudged up 0.03 per cent, <strong>HSBC</strong> 0.1 per cent and <strong>Lloyds</strong> 0.25 per cent. <strong>Royal Bank of Scotland</strong> lost 1 per cent.

British insurer <strong>Aviva</strong> performed surprisingly, edging up 0.2 per cent, despite reporting a slump in first half-year profits, hit by restructuring costs.

<strong>BP</strong> lost 0.79 per cent, after agreeing the sale of its liquefied petroleum gas arm for £40m. <strong>Shell</strong> edged up 0.3 per cent.

Television broadcaster <strong>ITV</strong> was up 2.65 per cent, with investors cheered by yesterday's news that the company could afford to give £1.3bn back to shareholders. Elsewhere in the sector, <strong>BSkyB</strong> was also up, 1.9 per cent.

On the downside, telecoms dropped, with <strong>BT Group</strong> losing 2.9 per cent and <strong>Vodafone</strong> dropping 0.7 per cent.

In Asia, the <strong>Nikkei</strong> closed up at 8,978, while the <strong>Hang Seng</strong> finished ahead at 20,269.