UK stocks keep on rallying buoyed by energy climbers

BUOYANT energy stocks and miners helped Britain&rsquo;s top share index rise for a record-equalling 11th straight session, though gains were limited by falls on Wall Street after corporate earnings disappointed.<br /><br />The FTSE 100 was up 9.52 points, or 0.2 per cent at 4,586.13, hitting its highest closing level since 5 January.<br /><br />The index has risen 11 per cent over the past two weeks on reassuring US corporate earnings results, and is up 32.5 per cent since hitting a six-year trough in March.<br /><br />This winning streak equals that seen between late December 2003 and early January 2004.<br /><br />Trading, however, was lacklustre, with volume reaching just 73 per cent of the average of the last 90 trading days.<br /><br />&ldquo;As you move through the week things really do start to take off,&rdquo; said Richard Hunter, head of UK equities at Hargreaves Lansdown.<br /><br />&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a few UK company results tomorrow, and Thursday in particular there's a whole raft, so this week really is the UK&rsquo;s opportunity to make its contribution to what has been a fairly positive earnings season so far, certainly in the US.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>BP</strong> is among those reporting results Tuesday, with <strong>AstraZeneca</strong>, <strong>BT Group</strong> and <strong>Rolls-Royce</strong> among those set to post results Thursday.<br /><br />Energy stocks added the most points to the index, holding onto gains made earlier in the session when crude oil rose on brighter economic prospect, but latterly the price eased off.<br /><br /><strong>BP</strong>, <strong>Royal Dutch Shell</strong> and <strong>Tullow Oil</strong> added between 1.1 and 1.6 per cent.<br /><br />Miners were higher, against a backdrop of firmer metals prices, with <strong>Antofagasta</strong>, <strong>Anglo American</strong>, <strong>BHP Billiton</strong>, <strong>Eurasian Natural Resources</strong> and <strong>Kazakhmys</strong> up between 0.5 and 4.4 per cent.<br /><br />Platinum miner <strong>Lonmin</strong>&nbsp; stood out, up 4.7 percent as Goldman Sachs upped its rating to &ldquo;neutral&rdquo; from &ldquo;sell&rdquo;.<br /><br /><strong>Pearson</strong> was the top FTSE 100 gainer, up more than 12 per cent after the publishing group said it was trading ahead of expectations which allowed it to stick to its full-year outlook. Elsewhere within the media sector, <strong>BSkyB</strong>, <strong>Reed Elsevier</strong>, <strong>Thomson Reuters</strong> and <strong>WPP</strong> climbed between 0.5 and 2.5 per cent.<br /><br />The banking sector was the main drag on the blue chips as heavyweight <strong>HSBC</strong>&nbsp; shed 0.8 per cent, while <strong>Barclays</strong> lost 3.5 per cent. <strong>Lloyds Banking Group</strong>, however, gained nearly 7 per cent as <strong>Nomura</strong> raised its rating to &ldquo;buy&rdquo; from &ldquo;reduce.&rdquo;