FTSE buoyed by miners, fourth day of gains

By Tricia Wright

LONDON (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s top share index closed higher on Monday for a fourth straight day, led by miners buoyed by firmer metals prices and offsetting a sharp fall in BP

(BP.L: ).

The FTSE 100 index (.FTSE: ) closed up 38.45 points, or 0.7 percent, at 5,202.13, its highest close since June 3.

Mining stocks added the most points to the blue chip index as major base metals hit one-week highs, with Kazakhmys (KAZ.L: ), Anglo American (AAL.L: ) and Xstrata (XTA.L: ) up 3.3-4.3 percent.

Banks, sensitive to fluctuations in investor appetite for risk, found support, with global heavyweight HSBC (HSBA.L: ) up 0.7 percent and Standard Chartered (STAN.L: ) adding 1.6 percent.

Barclays (BARC.L: ) put on 3.6 percent. Its investment bank arm said it plans to launch a European “dark pool” trading platform, building on its U.S. platform as part of plans to expand its equities business globally.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: ) added 1.9 percent. Santander (SAN.MC: ), the Spanish bank, is set to buy 318 bank branches from RBS, having submitted an indicative offer of about 2 billion pounds ($2.9 billion) in April, the Guardian reported.

“It’s been not the most electrifying session and we’ve seen that volumes are relatively thin as well, with people probably focused a little bit more on the (World Cup) football,” said Angus Campbell, head of sales at Capital Spreads.

“In the short to medium term we could ride higher … overall the macro picture is still on a better footing than a year ago so there’s no reason why (the FTSE 100) can’t see a return to the highs of April but I don’t think it will be very explosive.”

BP shed 9.3 percent, topping the FTSE 100 list of fallers, on lingering doubts about the outlook for dividends as it faces the costs of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

BP’s board was set to meet on Monday to discuss whether it will cut or defer its second-quarter dividend.

BG Group (BG.L: ) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: ) added 0.7 percent and 0.3 percent respectively, supported by a firmer crude price and an upgrade in stance for the European integrated oils sector to “bullish” from “neutral” by Nomura.

Back among the blue chip fallers, Home Retail Group (HOME.L: ) fell 0.9 percent as JP Morgan cut its rating on the owner of Argos catalog and Homebase home goods stores to “underweight” from “overweight” following last week’s trading update.

Also on Monday the government’s newly created Office for Budget Responsibility said Britain’s economy will grow slower from 2011 than the previous Labour government expected but state borrowing will fall slightly faster than originally thought.

Stock Investing

(Editing by Greg Mahlich)

FTSE buoyed by miners, fourth day of gains