Footsie finds forward gear


The top-share index rediscovered forward gear today, with sentiment lifted by the weekend announcement of new infrastructure spending commitments from the Chinese government.

The FTSE 100 ended a four day losing streak to rise 36 points to 6,891.

Miners were buoyed by the news from China, with silver miner Antofagasta (LON:ANTO), up 24.5p at 739.5p, bouncing back from Friday’s shellacking when it announced the temporary closure because of heavy rainfall.

Sector peer Randgold Resources (LON:RRS) advanced 1.2% to 4,814p, after performing the neat trick of achieving record production and increasing its reserves in 2014.

Outside of the mining sector, B&Q owner Kingfisher (LON:KGF) jumped 7p to 3648p as it yanked its proposed acquisition of French chain Mr Bricolage.

Kingfisher was planning to spend £200mln on the DIY chain but dropped the deal after objections from shareholders.

Another retail stalwart, Marks & Spencer, joined in as brokers expect its trading update on Thursday to show a major upswing in clothing sales.

Joint broker Citi expects M&S’s 14 consecutive quarters of falling sales to all but come to an end, while RBC Capital Markets raised its target price to 600p, from 540p.

Credit Suisse raised its target to 450p from 360p in the light of higher sector valuations but its rating was 'under-perform'.
Marks shares have had a good run recently and rose another 8p today to 538p.

Building materials company CRH (LON:CRH) struggled as the on-again-off-again Holcim-Lafarge saga continues. CRH will purchase assets from the newly formed company should the merger actually go ahead.

Standing in its way this time is Holcim shareholder Filaret Galchev who has decided to reject the most recent arrangement.

Among the small caps, Strategic Minerals (LON:SML) responded to the recent move in the share price by revealing it is in advanced discussions with the seller of a thermal coal project while it also has a six-month period to exclusively perform due diligence on a coal mine in China.

The shares rose by almost one-fifth to 0.625p.

AFC Energy (LON:AFC) rose again as it repeated its confidence it will be producing revenue and electricity in Germany by the end of the year. The shares closed at 28.5p, up 3.25p on the day.

Metal Tiger (LON:MTR) saw its shares rise 10.7% as it revealed regular news flow can be expected this year from work at its Logrosan gold and tungsten joint venture in Spain.

There was a bit of joy for Gulf Keystone Petroleum (LON:GKP) shareholders as well, as the company announced it has given its lenders until the end of the shortened working week to accept an incentivised offer for the amendment of terms for US$250mln of loan notes.

Wind turbine sensor specialist Windar Photonics (LON:WPHO) began trading on AIM today. Shares started at a premium of 10p to the recent placing price of 100p and by the end of the day were flying at 120p.

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