FTSE 100 hits a one-month high boosted by strong performance of energy shares

BRITAIN’S top shares extended their winning streak to a sixth straight day yesterday to a one-month closing high, driven higher by energy stocks.

The FTSE 100 ended the day up 20.10 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 5,237.92, its highest closing level since May 18, notching up its longest winning run since September, having risen 15.69 points, or 0.3 per cent, on Tuesday.

Energy stocks added the most points to the index as crude touched its highest level since mid-May. BG Group and Royal Dutch Shell added 2.1 per cent and 1.7 per cent respectively.

But BP shed 1.5 per cent as it faces a bill running into billions of dollars to pay damages for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the worst in US history.

In the wider market, the mood brightened after strongly-subscribed government bond auctions on Tuesday in Ireland, Belgium and Spain allayed some anxiety on the Eurozone debt situation.

Banks found support, with Royal Bank of Scotland leading the way, up 2.2 per cent after Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank finalised a deal to buy its UAE retail arm for around $100m.

Standard Chartered rose 1.8 per cent, while Lloyds Banking Group put on 0.3 per cent.

The Bank of England will gain new powers to curb credit binges and prevent another crisis as it takes over control of financial regulation in Britain, new finance minister George Osborne announced.

Jim Wood-Smith, head of research at Williams de Broe, described his short-to-medium term outlook for the FTSE 100 as “uniquely uncertain”.