Blue-chips approach 10pc gain for 2013

Blue-chips approach 10pc gain for 2013

The bulls in London capped off another buoyant week for the FTSE 100 by bringing the blue-chips’ rise for the year to almost 10pc.

The benchmark index has advanced 1.6pc since the start of trading on Monday, taking its gain from the beginning of January to 9.9pc. The focus of buyers’ attention yesterday was the latest US jobs data, which helped the main board put on 44.42 points to 6,483.58, its highest level since December 2007. The mid-caps were also on the rise, with the FTSE 250 closing 65.44 better at a record 14,018.79.

Among the day’s big movers, insurer Aviva stabilised and rose 10 to 324.8p, following a 12.5pc drop a day earlier on a cut to its dividend. Fund manager Schroders added 42p to £21.28, a fresh high, after analysts upgraded the shares in the wake of Thursday’s full-year results.

London-listed Bumi topped the FTSE 250 with a jump of 23, or 7.1pc, to 347p as 10 executives resigned from Indonesian subsidiary Bumi Resources. Investors saw the departures as helping the London-listed business sever its relationship with major shareholders, the Bakrie family, after the battle for control with Nat Rothschild.

Analyst speculation that fellow mid-capper Cairn Energy could be bought by Cairn India, which was spun out of the former in 2007, helped the shares gain 6.2 to 292½p.

Lower down the scale, shareholder approval of a key €261m (£227m) rights issue for troubled nickel producer Talvivaara, in the wake of a toxic water leak at its mine in Finland last year, sent the shares 4½ higher to 94p.

Elsewhere in the small-cap space, gambling group Sportech was in traders’ sights after a tribunal ruled in favour of the company in a drawn-out battle with HM Revenue and Customs over the VAT it paid on its Spot the Ball game between 1979 and 1996. Sportech said after the close on Thursday that it was owed more than £80m, a sum that analysts at house broker Panmure Gordon described as “life-changing” for the company, which has net debt of £57m. Investors agreed, and the shares climbed 17¼ to 108p.

Finally, speculative buying pushed oil and gas explorer Rialto Energy up 0.8 — 18pc — to 5¼p.

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