FRIDAY MARKET CLOSE: FTSE advances despite Shell warning

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Miners and motor insurers helped the FTSE 100 close a good week on a high as confidence in the world and domestic economy continued to build.

The index closed 13.88 points higher at 6,829.3 as retail sales numbers were taken as the latest sing of a consumer driven upturn.

Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, said: “It’s been a cracking week for the FTSE 100, finally breaking-out above those 6,775 bugbear festive highs to revisit October highs of 6,820 and 6,840 levels last seen in late May.

“Many of the biggest UK blue-chip winners this week come from the battered mining sector which benefited from global growth optimism, reduced Fed taper fears and multiple broker upgrades.”

Glencore Xstrata saw the biggest bounce among the diggers, adding more than 3 per cent at 338.15p.

The car insurance industry enjoyed a lift after the latest figures suggested its price war may be at an end. Admiral shot to the top of the risers’ board, up more than 6 per cent or 81p at 1,407p.

On the downside, Royal Dutch Shell fell 1 per cent after warning that fourth-quarter profits would plunge. Its shares dropped 26.5p to 2,279.5p after recovering some of their poise in the afternoon, while rival BP also bounced from heavy early session losses to stand 1.6p higher at 491p.

Royal Bank of Scotland was under pressure on the back of uncertainty about Labour leader Ed Miliband’s plans for UK banks if Labour wins the next election. Its shares slipped 7.8p to 363.7p at the prospect of further enforced divestments.

And Aberdeen Asset Manangement fell 2.6 per cent after a number of brokers cut their price targets for its shares in the wake of its latest update. Even though all stuck with their positive ratings, the stock was down 12p at 439p.