Market update

The FTSE 100 was up 39 points at 6034.3 at 10:46 a.m. on Friday. The leader board was dominated by the mining sector, which recovered on the strength of a rebound in metal prices, and by oil companies, which gained as the price of crude climbed.

British Energy was in focus again – the stock, which was up 7p at 739p, climbed as market sources cited speculation suggesting that EDF's advisers had tied-up the funds for a bid proposal, which the French company will present to the British Energy board next week. The talk bore no clues about the level of the bid, but suggested that EDF had received assurances for around £11bn in funding.



Moving up



Among oil companies, Cairn Energy proved the strongest on the FTSE 100, gaining 119p to 3,308p and claiming first place on the leader board. Xstrata, at third place, led the miners and rose by 122p to 4084p.

In addition to firmer commodities prices, Xstrata was helped by some positive comment from Merrill Lynch.

"While the market may be experiencing a period of doubt about the miners, we still see value in our top picks, particularly Xstrata, Anglo and Lonmin which are the beneficiaries today of big coal and platinum group metals related earnings upgrades. We feel that the sector is currently trading on macro fear related to a reversal of the short dollar long-commodities trade," the broker said.

It added: "While we must acknowledge this as a risk, all the feedback from our recent global Metals, Mining & Steel conference in Miami confirmed that any speculative overlay is but an overtone on a fundamentally strong demand picture in Asia and increasingly in Russia & the Middle East. Infrastructure spend is a key theme and we consider related metal demand to be much less price elastic than other perhaps more "discretionary" spend such as consumer goods and auto."

Merrill Lynch also gave a boost to Carphone Warehouse, which rose by 4.75p to 241.75p. The broker said that the expected launch of the new iPhone on the 9 June "could be seen as a positive catalyst" and added Carphone to its list most preferred European Telecoms stocks.

"With the 2G [second generation] phone pipeline now cleaned out, the market is clear for a launch. We believe the launch will be announced by Steve Jobs at his keynote speech on June 9 at the Worldwide Developer Conference in the US," Merrill said.





Moving down



The strength the oil price struck British Airways, which fell 4.82 per cent or 12.25p to 242p and claimed first place on the blue-chip loser board.

Standard Life, at second place, was almost as weak, shedding 4.29 per cent or 11.25p to 251p, after Deutsche Bank downgraded the stock to "sell" from "hold".

"The immediate outlook for the UK life market is weak, already under volume pressure in 2008, and with a deteriorating economy potentially weighed down further by rising inflation. Though well positioned longer term, Standard Life is in our view one of the most exposed to a tougher UK sales environment near term, particularly in view of the sensitivity of its margins to volumes. On the back of this we lower our new business profit forecast for 2009 by 8 per cent," said Deutsche.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
A boy holds a chick during the Russian National Agricultural Exhibition Golden Autumn 2014 in Moscow on October 9, 2014.
news
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
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

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot