It was a very good day for the FTSE 100 index, which touched a two-month high today, of 7,208. It was shy of beating the August high by only some 26 points, which was a significant milestone in itself. The last time that the index saw values of over 7,200 was before the pandemic in February 2020.
Miners claim top spots
Interestingly, four of the five top gainers are multi-commodity miners, which have been through a challenging time at the stock markets recently. A weaker outlook for metal prices as China’s demand slows down has impacted them. Additionally, investors have also been diffident on rising risks as the policy stimulus gets withdrawn as well as due to rising inflation.
But the fact that the biggest risers today were all miners is not something I can dismiss easily. To me it suggests possibly some return of confidence. It is true that most of them saw pretty steep share price falls recently. That makes them more affordable now. But I reckon that there may also be more faith in the broader stock markets, which have managed to remain stable despite a number of growing risks.
BHP and Rio Tinto gain on climate action
Besides this, most of the gainers also have company specific developments, that possibly went in their favour. The biggest gainer was the Anglo-Australian company BHP, which saw a 3.7% increase following its investors’ support for its climate change roadmap. It is now targeting being a net-zero emissions company by 2050.
Rio Tinto, another Australian miner, was the next biggest gainer with similar gains to BHP. It too has made progress on climate change action. The miner has developed a technology that allows production of low-carbon steel. This is done by substituting biomass for coking coal during production. A pilot project is currently underway to test the technology.
FTSE 100 miner Anglo American to produce more diamonds
Anglo American is the third biggest gainer, with a rise of 3.4%. This follows news that De Beers, its diamond company, and the Namibian government’s joint venture, called Namdeb, said that its mines’ lives have been extended to 2042. The earlier plan was that they would go on until 2022. This will allow for mining of eight million carats worth of diamonds. With consumers expected to spend more as the economy recovers, discretionary demand for items like diamonds is expected to rise. Additionally, increased production could hold the company in good stead as well.
Making metal of refuse
The Swiss miner Glencore was the next biggest riser and saw an approximately 3.4% increase. The miner, too, is looking at more environmentally sustainable ways of production. It now wants to build an electronics recycling facility in the UK. The value of metals like iron, copper, and gold in such waste runs into billions of dollars according to the United Nations, and only a fraction is presently recovered. This is also a far less polluting way of obtaining metal than through mining and smelting.
The fifth biggest gainer was International Consolidated Airlines Group, which saw a 3.3% increase on improved prospects for travel.
Manika Premsingh owns shares of Anglo American, Glencore, International Consolidated Airlines Group and Rio Tinto. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.