FTSE ends higher as miners advance

By Jon Hopkins

LONDON (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s top shares ended higher on Monday, supported by strength in miners as metals and crude prices rose amid a weaker dollar after G20 finance ministers agreed to avoid competitive currency devaluations.

At the close, the FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) was up 10.61 points, or 0.2 percent, at 5,751.98, just below last Thursday’s six-month closing high. It hit a 5,794.31 high during the session.

Heavyweight miners led the blue chips advance as copper prices rose to a 27-month high after the dollar fell following the agreement at the weekend G20 meeting of finance ministers.

Chilean copper miner Antofagasta (ANTO.L: ) was the top FTSE riser, up 4.1 percent, helped by a Goldman Sachs upgrade to “buy” from “neutral.”

“Miners provided London’s fuel but as the session wore on there was little else to keep up the momentum, and so Wall Street saw its early gains eroded, along with the FTSE,” said Mic Mills, head of electronic trading at ETX Capital.

U.S. blue chips (.DJI: ) were 0.6 percent higher by London’s close, buoyed by the weaker dollar and hopes for further quantitative easing (QE) from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

But a lack of comment in a speech from Fed chief Ben Bernanke and above-forecast U.S. existing home sales data curbed the QE enthusiasm and saw opening gains halved.

Away from commodities, Burberry (BRBY.L: ) was a strong gainer, up 3.2 percent as investors speculated LVMH’s (LVMH.PA: ) purchase of a minority stake in Hermes (HRMS.PA: ) may spark bid interest in the sector.

On the second line, spill-over speculative interest saw the London Stock Exchange (LSE.L: ) gain 5 percent after Singapore Exchange’s (SGXL.SI: ) A$8.4 billion ($8.2 billion) agreed takeover bid for Australian ASX (ASX.AX: ).

BANKS GLUM

Banks, were weak, however, with Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L: ) the worst blue-chip perfomer, down 5.4 percent after Credit Suisse cut its target for the state-backed bank.

Credit Suisse said in a research note that falling property prices could have a negative impact on Lloyds and prospects for near-term capital return from the bank were limited.

Elsewhere, Invensys (ISYS.L: ) shed 2.8 percent as UBS cut its rating to “neutral” from “buy” in a review of capital goods stocks, saying the sector may have “overshot fair value.”

Oil explorer Cairn Energy (CNE.L: ), down 1.4 percent, was also knocked by a UBS downgrade to “neutral” from “buy.”

And Pearson (PSON.L: ) shed 2 percent, as raised full-year guidance in a “solid” nine-month trading update from the publishing group looked unlikely to lead to a rise in consensus forecasts, according to RBS.

Technical factors, however, supported the blue-chip index’s gains. “The positive aspects are that the index remains above its 20-period moving average,” Sandy Jadeja, chief technical analyst at City Index, said.

“Longer-term price action suggests that a thrust above 5,833 could take the index toward 6,050-6,097.”

(Additional reporting by David Brett; Editing by Dan Lalor)

FTSE ends higher as miners advance