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U.S. equity markets were closed overnight for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but that didn't stop a rally across the pond in Europe.
In the United Kingdom the FTSE 100 climbed 27 points to 6180, with the German Dax adding 47 points to 7749, while the French Cac 40 gained 21 points to 3763.
In news out of the United Kingdom, general insurer Admiral (LON:ADM) was up around 5% to £12.11 a share as City heavyweight Goldman Sachs added the stock to its “conviction buy” list - moving the stock up from a “neutral” rating.
Conversely, Pearson (LON:PSON) shares ditched almost 3% to £12.02 after the publishing firm told investors it would report flat profits after tough trading in the final quarter. It warned that this is set to continue into 2013.
The firm was mostly friendless afterwards but Goldman Sachs stayed loyal. It repeated its ‘buy’ recommendation on the shares and urged its clients to ignore short-term headwinds and focus on the long-term attractions.
While the big caps were generally creeping higher the FTSE AIM 100, the small cap benchmark, dropped back slightly – down 0.16% today at 3,295.
Lesser known AIM names like Travelzest (LON:TVZ), Spark Ventures (LON:SPK) and Media Corporation (LON:MDC) were the biggest fallers on AIM – shedding 31%, 17% and 15% respectively.
Meanwhile among the risers was Atlantic Coal (LON:ATC), up 3.57% to 0.29p, which said it had exercised its lease option over the Pott & Bannon coal mine in Pennsylvania.
The company believes the addition of the property, which is just 25 miles from the firm’s Stockton colliery, could treble the company’s existing reserves.
The 410-acre site is estimated to contain up to 13.6mln tonnes of coal, equating to around 4.1mln tonnes of washed, saleable anthracite.
News of the completed water delivery system at Paragon Diamonds' (LON:PRG) Lemphane bulk sampling plant in Lesotho sent its shares northwards today - rising 2.53% to stand at 20.25 pence each.
Other notable gainers were Alecto Minerals (LON:ALO), which gained 4.76% to stand at 1.10 pence each and Orogen Gold (LON:ORE) which was lifted 4.08% to stand at 0.51 pence.
Blur Group (LON:BLUR) shares went up 9% to stand at 145 pence, while Chaarat Gold (LON:CGH) went up 8.5% to stand at 28.6p pence each.
Last week Chaarat announced that tax changes in the Kyrgyz Republic, where it operates, have ‘simplified and clarified’ the operational environment for mining in the country.
Gold recovery specialist Goldplat (LON:GDP) was also up today, rising 2%.