The FTSE 100's near 50 point rise calmed down by midday to leave the market looking relatively flat, ...
At midday, the FTSE 100 was up 16.2 points to 5579.
Much of the FTSE 100's gain was inspired by a surge in the share price of mining group Billiton. Today's big news arrived after Billiton said it is to merge with Australian rival BHP. The deal sees the combined group as one of the top four world miners more able to compete with the big wigs in the industry. Billiton's shares grew 34.25p to 324.5p. News lifted sector sentiment as fellow miner Anglo American, a 7.1% holder of Billiton, added 106p to 4210p and Rio Tinto increased 30p to 1205p.
The tech and telecom gloom materialised and few stocks managed to transcend investors' pessimism regarding earnings. Software group Logica led the fallers, down 76p to 1075p and Colt Telecom headed the telecom losers, down 50p to 845p.
There were also Monday morning blues for textile group Chapelthorpe. A profit warning - issued as a result of increased trading conditions high raw material costs and strong sterling - forced the shares to slump to an all-time low. Management buyout talks have subsequently ended because chief executive Brian Leckie has been unable to secure funding. Shares slumped 7.75p to 14.5p.
Reports from Asia say the Bank of Japan has effectively returned to a zero-rate policy. This is implied by its unconventional decision to inject more money into the economy.
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