London’s leading stock exchange extended its gains on Friday morning as strong Chinese trade figures sent mining stocks north. The FTSE 100 climbed to its highest point in almost four weeks, rising more than 22 points or 0.3 per cent to 7,251.65.
Anglo American led the way, gaining 43½p to £13.39; Antofagasta was trading up 20½p at 848p; Rio Tinto increased 86p to £34.68; and Glencore ticked up 6p to 318¼p.
A boom in construction helped Chinese imports to jump 16.7 last month, the fastest pace in four years. The overnight data, paired with persisting concerns over global supply, helped three-month copper jump 1.1 per cent on the London Metal Exchange this morning. BHP Billiton recovered slightly, rising 24p to £13.62, having struggled on the market over recent days as it faced a strike at Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine.
Gold continued to fall, however, holding back Randgold Resources, which fell 55p to £73.65. Smith & Nephew was also under pressure, slipping 12p to £11.86 after Credit Suisse and Jefferies cut their target prices from £11.90 to £11.60 and £13.70 to £13.50 respectively. Unilever lost 32p to £32.98.
An upgrade by BNP Paribas from “neutral” to “outperform,” raising its target price for the stock by almost a fifth, sent Sage Group up 11p to 648p. Shire was also enjoying a strong start to the day, trading up 76½p to £46.48½.
Just Eat was holding the wooden spoon in the mid-caps, meanwhile, after surprising the City by announcing the departure of David Buttress, its chief executive. Analysts expressed concern. UBS said Mr Buttress “has been instrumental in driving the company forward” and is regarded “as a key asset in the company”. Shares of the online takeaway delivery group slipped more than 6 per cent, or 34½p, to 519½p.
At the other end of the FTSE 250, Elementis briefly crossed the £3 mark for the first time since June 2015 after announcing the $360 million acquisition of SummitReheis. By late morning they were up 20¾p, or 7.6 per cent, to 296p.
The index looked set to close at its third record high in a row, up 0.4 per cent, or 71 points, to 18,698.