Volatile FTSE ends on a high

AFTER another rollercoaster session, fuelled by rumours about French banks, sovereign debt, and a possible short-selling ban in Europe, Britain’s leading share index ended with triple-digit gains yesterday.

“We’re just awash with rumours, dragging us from pillar to post... We’re calling propagators of such stuff the ‘Pinstriped Looters’. They come in, smash the market with their talk, and then run off with the money,” said one London-based trader, drawing a parallel with the riots and looting that has hit many of Britain’s cities over the past week.

The FTSE 100 index closed up 155.67 points, or 3.1 per cent, at 5,162.83, having swung sharply through over 230 points between a session high of 5,172.6 and low of 4,943.01.

The index had dropped 3.1 per cent to its lowest close since 6 July on Wednesday, having shed over 14 per cent in the past week.

Banks were the main source of the index’s volatility, as sentiment for the sector oscillated wildly on concerns over the stability of European lenders in the face of the global debt and growth crisis.

Barclays was the top blue-chip gainer, jumping 8.6 per cent, recouping a similar-sized fall on Wednesday as bargain hunters poured in to support the badly beaten-down stock.

Miners, including Antofagasta, also performed strongly.