BT and banks keep the rally going

The FTSE 100 broke through another barrier yesterday as confidence in central banks’ attempts to bolster the world economy helped the bulls charge down the latest round number.

The index added 32.24 points to a five-and-a-half-year high of 6,624.98, capping a week of mostly positive corporate results with its seventh session of gains in a row.

Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, said: “Yet another hurdle has been cleared this week as the UK flagship index made a decisive breach of 6,600. The bulls are loving it, already eyeing up the pre-crisis highs of 6,760 and then even those of 6,940 before the bust.”

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He calculated that HSBC added the most to the FTSE 100 after its first-quarter results early in the week showed a near doubling in profits. The bank carried on its steady rise yesterday, adding 2 per cent to 744.8p. Lloyds Banking Group was the next biggest help to the index as it added more than 9 per cent over the five days after it made two significant disposals. It was up 0.88p yesterday at 58.94p.

Telecoms giant BT was the stellar performer of the day as its shares shot 12 per cent higher on better-than-expected results and positive broker comments about its ability to challenge BSkyB in some of its core markets. The shares added 33.8p to 309.5p.

Miners were the main fallers as metal prices headed lower. Randgold Resources was down 4 per cent at 5,010p while Glencore Xstrata sank 3 per cent to 343.9p.

Outside the top flight, Ocado shares jumped nearly 8 per cent after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to “buy” and the internet grocer’s management said they were encouraged by progress so far this year. The retailer rose 16p to 224.6p.

NEW YORK: Wall Street ended modestly higher last night, registering a third straight weekly advance as gains in Google and other technology shares helped offset a slide in energy shares.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 35.87 points, or 0.24 pe rcent, to end on 15,118.49 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 7.01 points, or 0.43 per cent, to close at 1,633.68. The Nasdaq Composite Index ended the day up 27.41 points, or 0.80 per cent, at 3,436.58.