Miners help London’s top flight close higher

The FTSE 100 began the week on the front foot on Monday, pushed higher by the knock-on impact of higher gold prices on mining stocks.

London’s top flight closed up 33.31 points, or 0.48%, at 7,029.22, helped by the likes of Randgold and Fresnillo.

The miners were riding high after investors looked towards safe haven assets such as gold amid a tricky period for equities as the US and China trade war rumbles on and the prospect of higher American interest rates spooks markets.

Michael Hewson, chief analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “This rise in the gold price has helped push Randgold Resources and Fresnillo to the top of the FTSE 100 today as a weaker outlook for stocks prompts some haven buying in the wake of last week’s heavy stock market falls.”

The price of gold was up from 1,218.11 US dollars an ounce to around 1,228.24 US dollars at one point.

Randgold finished the day up 298p at 6,082p, while Fresnillo gained 35.8p at 912.2p.

Elsewhere, the high street bloodbath being endured by Britain’s retailers showed no sign of letting up as Superdry became the latest to warn over profits, sending its shares tumbling.

The clothing brand warned its full-year performance will be impacted by the recent warm weather and additional foreign exchange costs.

The company expects profits to be £10 million lower due to unseasonably hot conditions across the UK, continental Europe and the east coast of the US.

Shares plummeted, closing down more than 21%, or 215p, at 800p.

Medical devices maker Convatec also faltered as the company released a double whammy of updates, warning of a hit to sales and announcing the retirement of its chief executive.

Convatec’s revenue in the fourth quarter is expected to be negatively affected, falling by between 18 and 23 million US dollars (£13.7 million to £17.5 million).

The group said the adjustment was due to a change in inventory policy by the biggest customer of its infusion devices franchise.

The company also announced that chief executive Paul Moraviec is to retire. Shares were down 74.2p at 150p.

Sterling had a relatively uneventful day as it clawed back lost ground against the dollar to end up 0.4% at 1.316 at the London close.

Versus the euro, the pound was trading up 0.1% at 1.135.

However, Brexit is threatening to rear its head again as Britain and the EU head towards March 29 without sign of a coherent deal being in place.

“The disappointment surrounding the collapse of Brexit talks over the weekend saw the pound slide back early on, however we’ve slowly seen it claw back that initial lost ground.

“There has been a lot of noise about the rising prospects of a no-deal outcome, and the weekend breakdown has fed into that but there is still a great deal of time to iron out any last-minute issues, despite a lot of the hyperbole emanating from various political circles,” said Mr Hewson.

In Europe, France’s CAC 40 was up 0.14% while Germany’s DAX rose 0.78%.

A barrel of Brent Crude was trading at 80.1 US dollars, a rise of 0.4%.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Randgold Resources up 298p at 6,082p, Paddy Power Betfair up 275p at 6,290p, Fresnillo up 35.8p at 912.2p and Imperial Brands up 70.5p at 2,587p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were BAE Systems down 22.4p at 561.8p, Ocado down 23.4p at 789.8p, Melrose Industries down 4.85p at 465.65p and Rightmove down 8.35p at 425.5p.

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