StockMarketWire.com - Rising commodity prices sparked a rally in the mining sector, helping to lift the FTSE 100 by 0.4% to 7,647 around midday.

Antofagasta (ANTO) added 2.1% to 964p and BHP Billiton (BLT) climbed 1.5% to £16.89.

Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fresnillo (FRES) also enjoyed gains of over 1% apiece.

Brent crude oil was up 0.9% at $77.79 per barrel. Copper rose 1.2% to $2.85 per pound and gold glittered at $1,259 per ounce.

MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Oil major BP (BP.) dipped 0.3% to 577.3p amid reports that it was interested in buying BHP Billiton's (BLT) US shale unit.

Directors at Southend Airport owner Stobart (STOB) dismissed ex-chief exec Andrew Tinkler after he was voted on to the board at Friday's AGM. Shares in the company rose 4.6% to 239.5p.

A decline in gold production at miner Centamin (CEY) hit the stock by 6.6% to 109.9p as low metal grades at its Egypt mine impacted performance.

Housebuilder MJ Gleeson (GLE) strengthened 3% to 786.6p after chief exec Jolyon Harrison and finance director Stefan Allanson both bought shares in the company.

Cairn Energy (CNE) revealed it will write down the value of its investment in Vedanta Resources after Indian tax authorities sold shares worth $216m in the company. Shares in Cairn Energy rose 2.5% to 238.1p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Embattled baby retailer Mothercare (MTC) announced a discounted £32.5m equity issue and hiked its planned store closures from 50 to 60, causing the shares to reverse 5.9% to 26.9p.

Shares in pharma company N4 Pharma (N4P) plummeted 56.5% to 10p on news its clinical trial results for its reformulation of sildenafil has not met key target endpoints at a preliminary stage.

Gift voucher supplier Park (PKG) sealed new deals with retailers Arcadia, Courtesy Shoes, Office Outlet, DJM Music and Fat Face. The stock advanced 2.1% to 74p.


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