BRITAIN&rsquo;S top share index hit its highest closing level in more than 14 months yesterday as a weaker dollar sparked a rally in metals prices and some upbeat US data lifted market sentiment.<br /><br />The FTSE 100 ended up 86.29 points, or 1.6 per cent, at 5,382.67, its highest close since September 2008 and notching up its fourth consecutive session of gains.<br /><br />The index is only 0.6 per cent below its level before the collapse of <strong>Lehman Brothers i</strong>n mid-September 2008 and has surged 55.5 per cent from a six-year low in March.<br /><br />Miners buoyed by metal price advances spearheaded a rally with gold hitting a record high near $1,135 an ounce. <strong>Antofagasta, Xstrata, Rio Tinto </strong>and<strong> Randgold Resources </strong>added 4.8 to 7.8 per cent. Lonmin topped the blue-chip leader board, adding 9.3 per cent, as the world&rsquo;s third-biggest platinum producer said it planned to boost output by a fifth by 2013 as prices climb on shortages. <br /><br />&ldquo;After struggling in recent weeks, the major indices today seem to have signalled that the eight-month recovery for share prices is not over and has spurred traders to get their buying hats back on,&rdquo; said Tim Hughes, head of sales trading at IG Index.<br /><br />&ldquo;After the strong gains seen today, there is scope for at least a slight pullback in the days ahead, but for now it looks likely this will be treated as an opportunity to <br />buy into any dips on the belief that momentum really has returned.&rdquo;<br /><br />The index was given a fillip by data from across the Atlantic. US retail sales were up 1.4 per cent in October, a welcome sign heading into the holiday season, though a separate report showed manufacturing in New York State fell this month. <br /><br />Energy firms were big winners, underpinned by a 3.4 per cent rise in crude prices <strong>BG Group, BP </strong>and<strong> Royal Dutch Shell </strong>rose 1.2 to 2.4 per cent.<br /><br />BP said yesterday it found oil at its appraisal well in Kaskida field in the Gulf of Mexico. Banking stocks were led higher by a 2.6 per cent rise in heavyweight <strong>HSBC</strong>, which added to gains from last week when it released a strong third-quarter update.<br />