UK stocks hold gains after Christmas holiday


British stocks managed to hold onto slim gains today as the market reopened after the Christmas holiday, with mining stocks proving popular as copper and gold prices gained

Kazakhmys was among top gainers with a 1.6 per cent rise, followed by a 1 per cent increase for Anglo American.

Utilities and media stocks were also buoyant as traders said those sectors looked ripe for takeover action in 2006.

Severn Trent added 1.4 per cent, as did telephone directories publisher Yell.

But weak energy stocks kept the FTSE's gains in check, as stocks including BP and Royal Dutch Shell fell along with oil prices.

The value of a barrel of crude has slipped below $58 as mild weather hit demand for heating fuel in the United States.

By 1026 GMT, the FTSE 100 was up 4.1 points at 5,599.5 - just a few points shy of Friday's peak, when the blue-chip index rose above 5,600 points for the first time since August 2001.