LONDON: Britain’s top share index held on to slight gains on Monday, pulling ahead of sluggish European markets thanks to its strong cyclical tilt as mining and oil stocks continued their ascent.
The FTSE 100 edged up 0.1 percent by 0950 GMT, while the FTSE 250 gained 0.3 percent.
On a light day for earnings with investors awaiting a heavy slate of results later in the week, moves were muted as cyclical strength drove the market higher.
Miners were the biggest boost to the FTSE as metal prices extended their run, with zinc at a ten-year high.
Glencore, Rio Tinto, Anglo American , Antofagasta, and BHP Billiton rose 1 to 1.8 percent,
Oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell also drove gains, rising as crude prices stayed supported by OPEC-led production cuts.
Subprime lender Provident Financial fell 3.4 percent to the bottom of the mid-cap index after four former executives raised employment tribunal claims for unfair dismissals against the company.
Elsewhere broker notes moved some shares.
Smurfit Kappa rose 2.1 percent to the top of the FTSE after Numis raised its target price on the stock.
Diageo languished at the bottom of the index after a downgrade to ‘sector perform’ from RBC.
“There’s plenty of scope for both working and fixed capital to be managed more tightly, but we think investment will be less aggressively curtailed than we previously anticipated,” said RBC analysts.
In small-caps Petra Diamonds sank 10.7 percent after the diamond mine operator warned on profit and cut its 2018 production forecast.
The profit warning comes after a three-week strike at its South Africa operations and the blocking of a consignment of diamonds in Tanzania that led the company to flag a possible breach of two of its debt covenants in October.
“The company still has sufficient liquidity, we think, but until we see a deleveraging on the balance sheet, financing concerns will continue to weigh,” said RBC analysts.