FTSE gains on broad-based rally led by banks and miners

A BROAD-BASED rally in the stock market saw Britain&rsquo;s top share index recording gains for a sixth straight day, with banks leading the surge and commodity shares jumping on stronger crude oil and metal prices.<br /><br />The FTSE 100 index ended 54.87 points, or 1.3 per cent, higher at 4,443.62 -- the highest close since 11 June. On Friday, it posted its best weekly rise since early January.<br /><br />&ldquo;Oils and other commodities gained yet again as risk appetite returned to the market, dragging the US dollar lower,&rdquo; said Jimmy Yates, head of equities at CMC Markets.<br /><br />Banks roared ahead after US lender CIT Group&rsquo;s tentative deal with bondholders, improving sentiment. <strong>HSBC</strong>, <strong>Standard Chartered</strong> and <strong>Royal Bank of Scotland</strong> rose 1.6 to 3.6 per cent.<br /><br /><strong>Lloyds Banking Group</strong> jumped 6.7 per cent, also supported by a newspaper report saying it would post a first-half profit.<br /><br />Insurers got a boost from Morgan Stanley, which raised its rating on the European insurance sector to &ldquo;two per cent overweight&rdquo; from &ldquo;neutral&rdquo;.<br /><br /><strong>Aviva</strong>, <strong>Legal &amp; General</strong>, <strong>Old Mutual</strong> and <strong>Prudential</strong> put on between 2.9 and 7.6 per cent respectively.<br /><br /><strong>Friends Provident</strong> gained 2.4 per cent after financial buyout firm <strong>Resolution</strong> sweetened its proposed offer for the company. <br /><br />Energy stocks were in demand as crude rose 0.2 per cent to trade above $63 a barrel during trading yesterday.<br /><br /><strong>BG Group</strong>, <strong>Cairn Energy</strong>, <strong>BP</strong> and <strong>Royal Dutch Shell</strong> climbed between one and 1.7 per cent.<br /><br />Mining shares were in demand as metal prices rose, with copper MCU3 hitting a nine-month high on improved economic outlook.<br /><br /><strong>Randgold Resources</strong>, <strong>BHP Billiton</strong>, <strong>Eurasian Natural Resources Kazakhmys</strong> and <strong>Antofagasta</strong> rose between 2.8 per cent and 7.6 per cent.<br /><br /><strong>Rio Tinto</strong> jumped 3.7 per cent as Cazenove resumed its coverage on the Anglo-Australian miner with an &ldquo;outperform&rdquo; rating.<br /><br /><strong>GlaxoSmithKline</strong> rose 2.6 per cent after the success of its partner firm in a lupus drug clinical trial which, if turned into a blockbuster drug, could see profits being split between GlaxoSmithKline and partner Human Genome Sciences <br /><br />&ldquo;All eyes will now be on the psychological 4,500 mark,&rdquo; said Anthony Grech, market strategist at IG Index. &ldquo;If the FTSE can crack this level and traders start to see it as a support for gains rather than a ceiling for profit, we may be in for a ride up to the 4,700 point in the coming weeks.&rdquo;