Miners were firmly higher on the FTSE, boosted by investor confidence ahead of the third quarter growth data due out from China, which is expected to increase demand for commodities. Metals futures were higher for gold, silver, platinum and copper.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was quoted as saying that the Chinese government is confident of achieving 2012 growth targets of 7.5%.
There was a flood of mining companies providing third quarter production updates this morning. Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton saw iron ore output rise year-on-year in the third quarter, but fall from the previous quarter's production levels as a result of the planned shut-down associated with the Inner Harbour expansion project in Western Australia. Iron ore production was up 1% year-on-year, but down 3% quarter-on-quarter to 39.8m tonnes.
Xstrata, the Switzerland-based miner which looks set to merge with commodities trader Glencore, said volumes of thermal coal, zinc and lead in concentrate and zinc metal in the third quarter increased year-on-year. Volumes of copper and nickel declined, however.
Meanwhile, education power-house Pearson this morning announced that it is to purchase Embanet Compass from private equity outfits Technology Crossover Ventures and Knowledge Universe Limited for 650m dollars (406m pounds), or five times sales. Analysts at Nomura said about the company that to reach its targets, "we estimate the revenue growth will have to be over 50% in fiscal year 2013 and circa 25% in fiscal year 2014, which poses some execution challenges". More positively, it added that, "post-acquisition valuation remains high and free-cash flow around 7-8%".
Polymetal, the Russian precious metals miner, was down after it was announced that it has experienced a delay to the start of production at its gold deposit on the Chukotka peninsula, resulting in a reduction to expected gold production for 2013.
Banks were weakened by comments from Paul Tucker, the deputy govenor of the Bank of England, who warned that the worst could be yet to come for the sector.
The Royal Bank of Scotland, however, rose after announcing it was leaving the government insurance scheme set up to protect the company from collapse during the financial crisis.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 758.50p +6.98%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 350.70p +6.79%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,903.00p +5.20%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,149.00p +4.55%
Evraz (EVR) 253.80p +4.14%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,183.50p +4.00%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 2,012.50p +3.26%
Xstrata (XTA) 994.90p +3.21%
Tesco (TSCO) 317.70p +3.18%
Glencore International (GLEN) 348.90p +3.03%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
BAE Systems (BA.) 321.90p -2.19%
Pearson (PSON) 1,220.00p -1.85%
Compass Group (CPG) 684.00p -1.51%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 42.14p -1.45%
Bunzl (BNZL) 1,102.00p -1.34%
Serco Group (SRP) 570.00p -1.30%
Barclays (BARC) 243.45p -1.08%
Prudential (PRU) 861.00p -1.03%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,164.00p -0.94%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 960.50p -0.93%