Market update - 29 December

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The Independent Online

The FTSE 100 was up 99.62 points at 4316.21 and the FTSE 250 climbed to 6391.14, up 75.32 points, at 11:30 am this morning. Activity was light and a mere 227 million shares changed hands, compared to an average volume of over 1 billion in the week before Christmas.

Moving up…

Stronger commodities prices boosted the mining sector, which led the market higher this morning. The Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation was the strongest, gaining 6.9 per cent or 21p to 325.25p, while Anglo American swung to 6.83 per cent or 97p to 1517p.

Rio Tinto advanced to 1466p, up 6.62 per cent or 91p, as investors awaited the result of its meeting with the new junta in Guinea, the location of Rio’s $6bn Simandou iron ore project.

Concern about the impact of Israeli raids in Gaza boosted word oil prices, which in turn lifted the London-listed oil majors. Royal Dutch Shell, up 5.59 per cent or 96p at 1813p, fared the best. BP was up 4.23 per cent or 21p at 517p.

Parts of the embattled retail sector recovered as bargain hunters moved in to capitalise on recent losses, sending Kesa Electricals to 92.25p, up 8.21 per cent or 7p, and DSG International to 18.5p, up 8.82 per cent or 1.5p.

The run up to Christmas was hard on a number of leading stocks, with investors selling on concerns about falling retail sales and declining margin performance.

Moving down…

Fears about the fate of the housing market unsettled a number of mid-cap housebuilders. Redrow was the weakest, losing 3.39 per cent or 6p to 171p, and Persimmon retreated to 238.75p, down 1.34 per cent or 3.25p.