Stocks in London rise on end of US recession and miners

BETTER-than-expected economic growth from the United States and gains in banks and miners pushed Britain's leading share index 1.1 percent higher yesterday.<br /><br />The FTSE 100 closed up 57.30 points at 5,137.72, reversing earlier losses, as US data signalled the country had come out of recession. <br /><br />The index has gained 49 per cent since hitting a low in March, helped by three months of consecutive gains from July to September.<br /><br />&ldquo;The GDP figures were actually very good. It reinforces the conviction in the global recovery and that is what the market is responding to,&rdquo; said Mike Lenhoff, chief strategist and head of research at Brewin Dolphin Securities.<br /><br />&ldquo;What it the market needs to see now to move materially higher is more of an indication that this can lead to a sustainable recovery,&rdquo; he added.<br /><br />Banks were the biggest blue chip gainers, with Lloyds Banking Group up 7.5 per cent as the lender confirmed it was considering raising capital via a rights issue and debt swap as an alternative to a costly government scheme to insure it against credit losses. <br /><br />The bank said it was in &ldquo;advanced discussions&rdquo; with the British government and regulators over its potential capital raising which could help plug a capital gap of more than &pound;20bn.<br /><br />Part-nationalised peer Royal Bank of Scotland, also thought to be looking at plans to reduce its exposure to the government&rsquo;s asset protection scheme, was up 9.5 per cent, while Barclays and HSBC put on 3.5 and 1.4 per cent respectively.<br /><br />Asia-focused Standard Chartered added 3.7 per cent after it said it was benefiting from growth across its franchises, but cautioned the economic outlook remains fragile.<br /><br />Mining stocks advanced on the back of a jump in metals prices after above-forecast US growth fuelled demand expectations for commodities while a weak US dollar also helped lift metals prices.<br /><br />Xstrata, Fresnillo, Anglo American, Antofagasta and Rio Tinto rose 4.2 to 7.5 percent. Kazakhmys gained 6.6 per cent, also benefitting from in-line third-quarter production figures. <br /><br />Life insurers gained ground, bouncing back from the previous session&rsquo;s losses, with Prudential, Legal &amp; General, Old Mutual and Friends Provident up 2 to 4.4 per cent.<br /><br />Bucking the trend, Standard Life fell 0.4 per cent after posting a 15 per cent fall in nine-month sales. <br /><br />However, the&nbsp; broker Panmure Gordon reckons that Standard Life&rsquo;s peers could offer better value to investors.