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FTSE breaks through 6,000 as miners take off

FTSE 100 breaks through 6,000 as mining shares rocket, building on a strong recovery over the last month.

 
FTSE breaks through 6,000 as miners take off

Update: The FTSE 100 has broken through the 6,000 mark as a strengthening rally in miners lifted the index higher, while some of the stocks worst hit by the sell-off since the turn of the year rebounded.

The UK blue-chip index surged 143 points, or 2.5%, to 6,007, crossing through the 6,000 mark for the first time since the beginning of the month.

Miners raced higher, building on their gains from the morning's trading, and adding to an impressive recovery since mid-January when the sector hit its lowest level in more than 12 years. Since then, the FTSE 350 Mining index has risen 37%.

Glencore (GLEN) was the highest riser, up 13.6% at 116.9p, as investors welcomed the miner's move to restructure its debt. Anglo American (AAL) was close behind, up 13% at 449.5p.

Antofagasta (ANTO) rose 7.7% to 474.4p, BHP Billiton (BLT) added 7% to 741.2p and Rio Tinto (RIO) was up 5.4% at £19.51.

Rolls-Royce (RR) was another strong riser, up 7.1% at 676p on continued optimism over its turnaround plan.

Financial stocks, which have been heavily hit by the sell-off since the turn of the year, also built on gains. Fund group Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) was up 6.9% at 242.2p, Legal & General (LGEN) rose 7.4% to 227.4p and Hargreaves Lansdown (HRGV) added 5.8% to £12.51.

Glencore leads FTSE higher

(10:30) The FTSE 100 has risen, buoyed by a continued rally in mining stocks and positive trading in the US, which reopened after its Presidents' Day holiday.

The UK blue-chip index rose 76 points, or 1.3%, to 5,938, with Glencore (GLEN) the biggest riser, up 8.6% at 111.7p, after the embattled miner refinanced some of its debt.

'Glencore shares remain in recovery mode today, making a bullish breakout beyond six-month falling resistance at 100p,' said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.

'An existing revolving credit facility of $8.5 billion (£5.9 billion) is being replaced by a new $7.7 billion facility which is good news, keeping the ball in the air as the miner aggressively reduces its cumbersome debt load, restructures and aims to rebound from the commodity sector depression.'

Rival miners also rallied, including Anglo American (AAL), up 5.6% at 420p, after Deutsche Bank analyst Anna Mulholland raised her target price on the stock, to 465p from 397p, arguing the company's cost-cutting plans were 'designed to navigate Anglo to a more manageable gearing level'.

Rio Tinto (RIO) rose 2% to £18.90 and BHP Billiton (BLT) was up 1.6% at 703.5p. The mining sector has now rallied around 30% since January, when it reached its lowest levels in more than 12 years.

Sainsbury's (SBRY) was another big riser, up 3.4% at 258p, after analysts at Exane BNP Paribas upped their rating to 'outperform' from 'neutral', arguing the market underappreciated the benefits of its planned takeover of Argos owner Home Retail (HOME).

Only a handful of FTSE 100 stocks made losses, including Randgold Resources (RRS), down 0.9% at £59.50, as investors dumped gold amid the bullishness.

Investors were also buoyed by trading in the US, where the Dow Jones rose 1.4% and the S&P 500 closed 1.7% higher after Monday's holiday.

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