FTSE exceeds 6,000 mark

Julian Harris
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THE FTSE pushed on from last week’s bullish trading yesterday, edging past the morale-boosting 6,000 mark to print its highest score since May.

The blue-chip index added half a per cent (27.78 points) during the day to close at 6,017.54.

Strong gains in oil stocks more than offset a dip in the fortunes of several leading banks, which were widely hit by Standard & Poor’s warning that a potential Greek debt deal would amount to a default.

Lloyds Banking Group was the worst sector performer, off 1.8 per cent, followed by Royal Bank of Scotland, down 1.5 per cent, as investors fretted that the Eurozone debt crisis could be far from over.

Yet BG Group and peer Royal Dutch Shell both rose on the back of positive broker notes from HSBC and Goldman Sachs respectively.

Conversely, British Land was one of the day’s best performers, up 2.3 per cent after Deutsche Bank recommended that investors buy shares in the estate group in anticipation of strong net asset value growth.

The upturn in equities was seen elsewhere in Europe, with the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares rising by 0.2 per cent to 1,121.58 points, the highest close in a month.