The FTSE 100 Index started the new quarter on the front foot today, helped by the renewed prospect of a multibillion pound merger in the mining sector.

The support of Xstrata's board for the takeover by Glencore International, in a deal which will create a new company worth around £56 billion, ensured the blue-chip miner's shares rose 14.45p to 971.85p, up 1.5%.

The top flight climbed 45.9 points to 5788.1, with mining stocks leading the rally amid hopes that the Glencore deal will trigger further deals in the sector. Anglo American set the pace, up 35.75p to 1852.75p, while Eurasian Natural Resources cheered 4.5p to 313.2p.

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Banking stocks did well as Barclays lifted 6.175p to 221p, Royal Bank of Scotland climbed 5.2p to 262.2p and fellow part-nationalised bank Lloyds Banking Group gained 0.7p to 39.6p.

Plumb Center firm Wolseley topped the FTSE 100 risers board - up 74.5p to 2718p - as investors awaited full-year results from the building supplies firm later in the week. While the company has suffered from declining revenues in France, the focus will be on its North American operations and efforts to revitalise the UK business.