FTSE surges upward to join US stock markets

Following record breaking gains from US stock markets (the S&P also broke new highs shortly after posting), the FTSE is up over one per cent, driven by rallies in the Royal Bank of Scotland, Aberdeen Asset Management, Barclays and the London Stock Exchange.

Lloyds Banking Group, Kingfisher and ASOS have also hit new highs.

This comes as US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke talks about monetary policy (live here and being covered on the blog). The FTSE has also been encouraged upwards by strong UK retail sales in June announced this morning.