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Miners help lift FTSE 100 in otherwise ‘subdued’ investor mood

London’s top index has been lifted by gains for mining giants as it started the week hovering firmly above the record-breaking 8,000 mark.

The FTSE 100 saw basic resources companies Anglo American, Rio Tinto and Glencore jump towards the top of the index, as global businesses continue to be buoyed by the reopening of China’s economy out of its Covid restrictions.

It comes amid a gloomier outlook for the UK economy with new figures from the Centre for Retail Research showing that British retailers have slashed almost 15,000 jobs since the start of the year.

Nevertheless, the FTSE 100 kept its head above the 8,000 mark after hitting the milestone for the first time last week.

It closed 9.95 points higher, or 0.12%, at 8,014.31.

It was a subdued session for European markets with the German Dax down 0.03% and the French Cac declining 0.16%.

Meanwhile, markets in the US were closed for Presidents’ Day, which commemorates the nation’s presidents throughout its history, leaving European investors with little direction, analysts said.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “In the absence of US markets for Presidents’ Day, it’s been a quiet and subdued session for markets in Europe, with little in the way of direction.

“We’ve seen resilience in the basic resource sector on the back of firmer metals prices, with copper and aluminium prices getting a tailwind from optimism over a reopening of the Chinese economy and a pickup in economic activity.

“Anglo American and Rio Tinto are amongst the better performers on the back of firmer iron ore, aluminium and copper prices.”

It was also a quiet session for the pound, which was not moving against the US dollar when markets closed, and was up by about 0.1% against the euro.

In company news, Tesco said that its shop workers would get a 7% pay rise to a minimum of £11.02 an hour.

The pay rise is the third in 10 months, and will mean an investment of £230 million for the business. The changes will be implemented from April 2.

Tesco’s share price did not change.

Darktrace, a cyber security company, has brought in specialists from EY for an independent review of its financial processes and controls after being accused of accounting irregularities by a US hedge fund.

Quintessential Capital Management, a US-based short seller, published a critical report into the company, raising questions about its 2021 listing in London.

Shares in the firm plunged by a third after the report. Shares in Darktrace rose by 3.5% after the news.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Anglo American, up 128p to 3,337.5p, Frasers, up 24.5p to 794p, Rio Tinto, up 174p to 6,277p, Persimmon, up 31p to 1,467p, and Melrose Industries, up 3p to 146.65p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were DS Smith, down 17.4p to 336p, IAG, down 4.2p to 163.04p, Airtel Africa, down 2.8p to 125.7p, Segro, down 16.6p to 849.6p, and Reckitt, down 78.0p to 5,698p.