FTSE 100 hits a nine-month closing high after strong German figures

BRITAIN’S blue-chip index posted its highest close in nine months yesterday, supported by strong German economic data but enduring a late sell-off as it balked at technical resistance.

The FTSE 100 closed up 3.34 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 5,924.97, edging off an intraday high of 5,937.93 on a bout of selling in the last 45 minutes of trading.

The sell-off dragged the index back below a September intraday high that had been the top end of recent ranges.

“A close above the September high of 5,932.62 would be a very positive sign, but with resistance at the year high (of 5,989) before we get to 6,000, I’d still be patient,”said Phil Roberts, head of technical analysis at Barclays Capital.

Despite failing to post a strong close, the index rose for a fifth day, the second such run this month and the fourth this year.

Supporting the rise was a much bigger than expected jump in Germany’s influential ZEW survey of economic sentiment in November. The FTSE 100 added 0.2 per cent in the 70 minutes after the data.

Miners were among the top gainers in Britain, with basic materials adding 6 points and bringing the index into positive territory. Miners are sensitive to global economic sentiment, and were further supported as a ZEW economist said Germany was not heading for recession.

Whitbread was among the top gainers, up 2.5 per cent as Britain’s biggest hotel and coffee shop operator posted a rise in third-quarter sales. Tullow Oil lost 8.4 per cent, making it index’s biggest faller, after it said a well drilled off the coast of Ghana found no oil in its main target area.