Miners and oil stocks were the major players in London’s equity market rebound on Wednesday as investors were cheered by share-buyback news from Anglo American. The FTSE 100 was 35.6 points, 0.7 percent, higher at 5,217.7 in early trade while the mid-cap FTSE 250 traded up 34.6 points, or 0.5 percent, at 7,570.2.
Anglo American rose quickly to the top of the FTSE 100 leader board after it said it would return up to $1bn to shareholders via a share buy-back and/or special dividend during the course of 2006. Shares in the mining group rose 3.7 percent to £16.18 in early trade on the news. BHP Billiton was up 2.5 percent at 824p and Antofagasta firmed 1.6 per cent to £14.91. Mid-cap mining firm Lonmin rose 1.3 percent to £12.85 after it said it had seen a very strong fourth quarter and reported overall platinum production of 309,239 ounces. BP added 2.6 percent to 624.5p after Smith Barney upgraded its rating on the stock to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’, setting a 700p price target.
Gilts declined on speculation the Bank of England will refrain from cutting interest rates amid signs the housing market is picking up and inflation is above its target. Subsequently, the 10 year gilt was trading lower at 102.63 and it yield rose to 4.417.