The FTSE 100 maintained its February rally on Monday morning, with Randgold (RRS.L) among the biggest winners as the gold price edged up again.
European shares took their cue from Asia, where markets moved higher overnight. The gains came despite official numbers showing the Japanese economy grew by just 0.3% in the final three months of 2013, lower than hoped.
In Europe, Italian political tensions failed to derail shares. In Italy, Matteo Renzi is expected to be formally asked to become Italy’s prime minister today.
Gold continued to rise, up another 0.4% to $1,323 an ounce. On the FTSE 100 gold miner Randgold followed the precious metal higher, rising nearly 2% to £48.54.
The Footsie’s gains of around 2.3% so far in February come in sharp contrast to January’s 3.5% sell-off, which was prompted by fears over the health of emerging markets and the impact of the gradual end of US stimulus.
The biggest FTSE 100 winners of 2014 so far have been miners Fresnillo and Randgold, both up 23% year to date as they track the prices of silver and gold higher.
The biggest fallers are Tate & Lyle and Rolls Royce which suffered steep one-day falls after disappointing earnings updates, and Aberdeen Asset Management, which has felt the full force of aversion towards emerging markets. All three have lost 18% of their value.
On Monday morning the UK’s blue chip index rose 0.4% to 6,691.
This week there will be plenty of major economic data to test investors’ nerves, with reports on Chinese manufacturing and US housing among the highlights.