Market Report: Investors quick to dig into gold miners

As the blue-chip index headed down, investors rushed to gold miners' shares. On the final trading day of the quarter, Mexican gold and silver miner Fresnillo glistened at the top of the leaderboard, up 75p to 1,852p, followed by Russia's Polymetal International, up 25p to 1,085.5p, while Mali-focused Randgold Resources jumped 140p to 7,615p.

But the popularity of precious-metal-seeking stocks isn't just a flash in the pan. Randgold emerged as the biggest riser on the benchmark index for the entire quarter, with Fresnillo the third-biggest gainer in the period.

The biggest losers in the quarter were Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC), yesterday down, 3.5p to 308.7p, and luxury goods group Burberry, off 6p at 1,001p.

Traders in the City started the day feeling positive on hopes that eurozone debt problems could improve, with riskier stocks still on their shopping list. But by the finish, the index had fallen to its lowest closing level in more than three weeks as fears over the true extent of the eurozone debt crisis would not go away.

But the mining sector helped keep the index from falling further as rumours that China, the world's biggest metals consumer, could issue further stimulus measures. Over the entire third quarter, the FTSE 100 was up 3.1 per cent but yesterday, despite the strong rise for miners, it lost 37.35 points to 5742.07 – not clearing the key 5,800 mark at the end of the quarter.

Investors are still waiting for Glenstrata, the $80bn (£50bn) mining and commodity-trading mega-merger. Monday's deadline looms for the overdue Xstrata and Glencore merger, with reports that the pair remain at odds over key issues. Xstrata lost 2.1p to 957.5p and Glencore headed down 0.1p to 343.1p.

The Office of Fair Trading has ordered a Competition Commission probe into the car insurance market as it thinks competition isn't working and customers' wallets are being hit. Among the watchdog's concerns are that if you are involved in a smash, your replacement car or the repairs could be costing more than the market rate. The planned float of car insurance site Direct Line by taxpayer-owned Royal Bank of Scotland had been valued at between £2.5bn and £3.5bn, but yesterday it announced a float at between £2.4bn and £2.9bn. The bank has had to sell the insurance business, which also includes the Churchill and Privilege brands, to meet European regulators' conditions after it was bailed out. RBS shares edged up 0.4p to 257p but news of the probe hit motor insurers Admiral, down 32p to 1,053p and morethan brand owner RSA Insurance, off 1.5p at 110.5p.

Over on the midcaps, electrical retailer Dixons had a strong run. Dealers attributed its rise to approval of chief executive Sebastian James, who joined in the summer and hopes it will have a strong Christmas. Dixons, which sells everything from iPads to kettles, gained 0.38p to 19.78p.

Massive tuition fees may put off some prospective university students but the student accommodation sector is still growing as an influx of overseas students builds. Traders reckon news that Chinese state-owned fund Gingko Tree Investment's proposed purchase of Barclay's 40 per cent stake in the University Partnership Programme (Britain's largest developer of student housing) will also be good news for rival Unite Group. Traders speculated that if overseas investor interest continues, Unite could even become a bid target. Its shares booked in a 6.9p rise to 263.6p.

Shares in logistics business Wincanton continued their good run, driving up 3.25p to 56p after contract wins from B&Q and Sainsbury's. Traders speculated that there could soon be more good news.

Mischievous traders speculated that another bidder could emerge for Sportingbet. The online gambling group, which is already in talks with bookmaker William Hill, rose 0.25p to 51.50p.

AIM-listed Aortech International hasn't found a buyer and is no longer for sale. It is still trying to flog its polymer business but also needs to raise more money. Punters were not impressed and the shares plummeted 65p to 60p.

G4S 265.7p (up 2p, 0.76 per cent) Security company boss Nick Buckles has survived the fallout from its Olympic fiasco but the scalps of its chief operating officer and managing director were claimed.

Babcock International 927p (up 9p, 0.98 per cent) The engineering company will release a trading update to the market next week and analysts expect its core businesses of marine and defence to remain solid.

Compass Group 683.5p (down 21p, 2.98 per cent) Compass Group continued its fall from the previous day after it admitted it will have to reduce its operations in southern Europe. Analysts at Natixis cut its rating to neutral from buy.

Anglo American 1,817p (down 30.5p, 1.65 per cent) The mining giant continued to suffer at the hands of illegal strikers at its South African platinum mines.

Ophir Energy 608p (up 17.5p, 2.96 per cent) The oil group said it will restart its Tanzanian drilling programme with its joint-venture partner BG Group.

Centamin 92.5p (up 2.85p, 3.18 per cent) The mid-cap Egyptian gold miner joined its peers on the FTSE 100 as a top riser as investors piled into precious-metal mining stocks on hopes of further Chinese stimulus.

London Stock Exchange 943p (down 82p, 8 per cent) Strict new rules from European regulators sent its shares tumbling.

Electrocomponents 200.3p (down 19.4p, 8.83 per cent) The specialist electronic components and maintenance firm warned that half-year profits will slump by a third. The forecast was worse than expected, and sent it to the bottom of the mid-cap index yesterday.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Johnny Handle, Northumberland, Ted Relph, President of Lakeland Dialect Society, and Sid Calderbank, Lancashire, founder of the National Dialect Day
newsMeet the enthusiasts determined to stop them dying out
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross. Argyll, has remained derelict for more than 25 years
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Austen Lloyd: Company Secretary

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: EAST ANGLIA - SENIOR SOLICITOR LEVEL ROLE** -...

Citifocus Ltd: German Speaking Client Specialist

£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Prestigious asset management house seeks a...

Citifocus Ltd: Performance & Risk Oversight

£Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: This is a varied role focusing on the firm's mutua...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Director - SaaS (SME/Channel) - £140,000 OTE

£90000 - £140000 per annum + benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Are you a high achievin...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game