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FTSE 100 boosted by mining companies

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(Noon): Mining shares pulled the FTSE 100 higher, with shares in silver miner Fresnillo leading the way after the price of silver hit a 10-month high.

Shortly before midday the FTSE 100 was 22.95 points higher at 6,376.47.

Fresnillo shares were up nearly 3%, and among other mining companies BHP Billiton was 2.9% higher while Anglo American climbed 2.7%.

Commodity-related stocks were supported by a modest rebound in oil prices after Monday’s falls.

Hopes that China’s economy is not slowing as quickly as feared have also helped to support the sector.

“With Chinese data clearly showing tentative signs of a resurgence, there is a feeling that the commodities sector as a whole will begin recover despite ongoing reservations over the crude oil glut,” said Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG.

Shares in Primark owner Associated British Foods rose 1.9% after reporting a small rise in half-year profits.

Underlying pre-tax profits rose 4% to £466m for the 24 weeks to 27 February, with sales down 2% to £6.1bn.

On the currency markets, the pound rose nearly a cent against the dollar to $1.4368, and was up more than half a euro cent against the euro at €1.2676.

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