Market shrugs off high street gloom as FTSE 100 hits four-year high

 
Julian Harris
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LONDON’S FTSE 100 index soared to its highest level since May 2008 during yesterday’s trading, as bullish investors continued to drive the New Year rally.

The blue chip index peaked at 6,112.27, led by strong banking and mining stocks and an optimistic outlook to the beginning of the US earnings season.

The FTSE finally closed up 45.02 points, or 0.7 per cent, at 6,098.65 – adding over £11bn to the value of the UK’s top 100 listed firms.

The FTSE 100 is already up 3.4 per cent since trading resumed last week.

“It was risk on from investors who have become increasingly optimistic in 2013 that the global economy is on the mend following a good start to the US corporate earnings season from aluminium producer Alcoa,” commented Angus Campbell of Capital Spreads.

A weaker sterling has boosted the view of companies with operations abroad, such as miners. The sector rose 0.8 per cent, yet it was banks that added over 20 points to the index.

Lloyds was among the top 10 risers, growing by 4.94 per cent during the day after UBS upgraded its stock to “buy” from “neutral”.

At the other end of the scale, Sainsbury weighed on the index by losing 2.9 per cent after its results disappointed.