FTSE rises despite Egypt turmoil

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The FTSE 100 Index closed up 53.7 points at 6051

The continuing anti-Government protests in Egypt have failed to shake investor confidence as the FTSE 100 Index closed ahead after being buoyed by resurgent mining stocks.

There was a positive mood across world markets despite another day of protests in Egypt, as the Footsie climbed 53.7 points to 6051, led by miners which surged as the price of copper reached new highs.

In America, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.7% spurred on by a series of takeovers.

Online company AOL announced it will buy the online newspaper The Huffington Post for $315 million (£195 million) and London-based oil rig operator Ensco said it had agreed to buy Pride International, another offshore driller, for $7.3 billion (£4.5 billion).

The pound pushed higher against both the euro and the dollar on speculation that the Bank of England may raise its base rate from its record low of 0.5% on Thursday. Sterling was at 1.61 against the greenback and 1.19 against the euro.

As copper prices hit a record 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, added 50.5p to 1467.5p, while Rio Tinto was up 128p at 4625p and Vedanta Resources was ahead 45p at 2432p.

But it was chipmaker ARM Holdings at the top of the risers’ board as it surged nearly 4% after stockbroker Numis upgraded revenue forecasts for the Cambridge-based firm.

ARM’s shares have had a stellar run in recent weeks following a deal struck with software giant Microsoft and speculation over a potential takeover bid from rival Intel. Shares were ahead 23p at 611p.

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 12.2p at 368.9p.

Banks were among other stocks on the front foot as Barclays lifted 4.65p to 312.75p and Lloyds Banking Group cheered 0.8p to 64.6p.

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