More signs of inflation jitters emerged on Wednesday as gold continued its upward push to trade above $1,900 an ounce for the first time since early January.
The use of the precious metal as a hedge against rising prices has been given a further boost by signs that US policymakers intend to pursue a relaxed policy on interest rates.
Gold broke $2,000 an ounce amid its safe haven appeal last summer and is showing signs of returning there after recent US consumer price figures added to ongoing inflation worries.
The acceleration in the gold price has exposed a few opportunities for investors, with Russia’s Petropavlovsk among the shares sharply higher today. The company, which used to be known as Peter Hambro Mining, added a penny to 26.24p in the FTSE 250 index.
Blue-chip Polymetal International rose 29p to 1,725p, with Egyptian miner Centamin improved 1.3p to 122.8p.
Shortly after 10am the FTSE 100 index added 5.53 points to 7,035.32, led by Croda International after Goldman Sachs backed the speciality chemicals firm with a “buy” recommendation and 8,000p target price. Shares were 186p higher at 7,024p, a rise of 3%.
The biggest blue-chip faller was Intertek, despite a solid start to its financial year amid signs the pandemic is fuelling demand for its quality assurance work, such as supply chain traceability. Having peaked at almost 6,200p this month, shares fell 222p to 5,726p today.
The FTSE 250 index was 162.94 points higher at 22,601.84, but Playtech failed to progress in a significant session for the gaming technology firm. It announced plans to sell its financial trading division Finalto so it can focus on services in casino, sports betting, virtual sports and poker.
Shares were 0.4p lower at 455p despite CEO Mor Weizer reporting “significant progress” in the company’s key markets of the US, Latin America and Europe so far this year.