Mining stocks lift European equity markets

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Anglo American’s upbeat production numbers for the fourth quarter have lifted mining stocks to the top of European equities indices, as the region’s bourses make strong, broad-based gains.

Anglo’s Kumba Iron Ore division produced 11.3m tonnes in the last quarter of 2013, up 25 per cent from the same period last year, when a strike weighed on operations, and 31 per cent on the quarter after several safety stoppages in August.

Copper production rose 24 per cent to a record 214,400 tonnes, thanks primarily to its Chilean Los Bronces and Collahuasi mines, and platinum climbed by 25 per cent to 520,300 ounces.

Shares in Anglo rose 6.3 per cent to £14.28 and provided a boost to the rest of the sector. Antofagasta, the Chile-based copper miner, climbed 6.9 per cent to 879p, while Mexican silver miner Fresnillo gained 3.7 per cent to 779p.

With equity markets desperate for a reason to rise, an increase in Turkish interest rates to prop up the country’s ailing currency was seen as a supporting move to broader market sentiment.

London’s the FTSE 100 was up 0.9 per cent at 6,632.13, while the pan-European FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.9 per cent at 1,309.71, with miners in the lead.

Shares in mid-cap luxury goods maker Mulberry fell 26 per cent to 662p after the company warned that pre-tax profit for the year ended in March is expected to come in “substantially” below expectations, after a sharp slowdown in Christmas sales and Korean wholesale cancellations.

Also in retail, Sainsbury shares dropped 1.9 per cent to 350p after chief executive Justin King announced he was stepping down in July after 10 years in charge. He will be replaced by group commercial director Mike Coupe.

Luxottica was up 4.3 per cent at €40.14 after the Italian eyewear maker said Asian demand for its designer sunglasses jumped.

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