Old Mutual leads modest FTSE rally

BRITAIN’S blue-chip index staged a modest rebound in thin volumes yesterday, with battered insurers and oil stocks boosted by some short-covering ahead of today’s futures and options expiries.

Life insurers regained most of the ground lost the previous day, rising 2.9 per cent, with Old Mutual jumping 11.4 per cent on hopes the planned $3.2bn sale of its Nordic business would help the group cut its debt and boost shareholder returns.

Energy firms led the FTSE 100’s fallers, with Cairn Energy dropping 1.6 per cent, Tullow off 0.9 per cent and BG Group down 0.8 per cent.

The FTSE 100 ended up 34.05 points, or 0.6 per cent, at 5,400.85.

The market, which traded at 85 per cent of its 90-day volume average, staged a short-lived rally in the afternoon as data from the US suggested that the world’s largest economy is improving.