FTSE underpinned by hope for ECB stimulus

STRENGTH in risk-sensitive energy, miners and banking stocks propelled Britain’s top share index back up to touch the 5,700 level yesterday, fuelled by hopes central banks could launch fresh measures this week to stem the global economic slowdown.

Recent comments from European policymakers vowing to take all steps to tackle the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis, as borrowing costs for under-pressure Spain and Italy have soared, have heightened speculation of European Central Bank action. “The ECB has been hinting, hinting, hinting but now it’s the time to deliver,” said Henk Potts, market strategist at Barclays Wealth.

The biggest support for the blue chips came from the energy and mining sectors, which rose on hopes that expected central back action would lift the gloom surrounding the global economy and boost demand for commodities.

The FTSE 100 index closed up 66.42 points, or 1.2 per cent at 5,693.63 points. Banking shares were higher and retailer Dixons gained 4.2 per cent on demand for televisions over the Olympics.