Copper price rises help FTSE climb

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The FTSE 100 Index advanced 43 points to 6040.8

Mining stocks have pushed the FTSE 100 Index above the 6000 barrier as copper prices hit a record high.

Continuing unrest in Egypt and ongoing fears over the health of the global economy have failed to dent world markets in recent days, as London’s top flight index advanced 43 points to 6040.8.

The mood will be tested over the next few days, with results due from Diageo and Rolls-Royce and the latest decision on interest rates from the Bank of England as policymakers grapple with inflationary pressures.

But as copper prices hit 10,122 US dollars (£6,288) a tonne, stocks in weighty miners made strong gains.

Anglo-Swiss firm Xstrata, boosted by a stock upgrade from Citigroup, led the sector as it added 47.5p to 1464.5p, while Rio Tinto was up 112p at 4609p and Vedanta Resources was ahead 43p at 2430p.

Chipmaker ARM Holdings surged more than 3% to the top of the risers’ board after stockbroker Numis upgraded revenue forecasts for the Cambridge-based firm. Shares were ahead 20.5p at 608.5p.

Packaging giant Rexam made a rare appearance near the top of the index, after reports suggested the world’s biggest beverage-can maker was set to sell a division which makes drink containers for more than £200 million. Shares were up 8.9p at 365.6p.

Banks were among other stocks on the front foot as Barclays lifted 5.15p to 313.25p and Lloyds Banking Group cheered 1.45p to 65.2p.

US stock futures were also ahead, suggesting Wall Street could open at a 30-month high. American traders will be looking at consumer credit data for December and mulling over the implications of media giant AOL’s 315 million US dollar (£195 million) buyout of online newspaper The Huffington Post.

In corporate news, Bellway offered some cheer from the property market as shares rose 16p to 655.5p, although the rest of the sector was more subdued as Taylor Wimpey dropped 0.3p to 37p and Persimmon remained unchanged at 425.2p.

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