FRIDAY MARKET CLOSE: FTSE powers to second week of gains

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Britain’s top share index continued its rally, taking its cue from fresh all-time highs hit on Wall Street to notch up its sixth straight day of gains.

The advance confirmed a second straight positive week for the FTSE 100, its longest winning streak in two months. The index added 56.7 points or almost 1 per cent, closing at 6,750.87, following a strong day on US markets while London was closed for Boxing Day.

David Madden, market analyst at IG said there was strong demand for mining stocks after the Peoples Bank of China acted to cut borrowing costs in the commodity hungry nation.

“China is a major importer of minerals, and traders bought natural resource stocks as they felt a more robust interbank market would ensure domestic companies would be able to continue their high levels of business activity,” Madden said.

Among the blue chips, Fresnillo was up 25.5p at 735p and Glencore Xstrata gained 7.65p at 315.7p.

Retailers were also in the black amid reports of a Boxing Day sales bonanza. Next was up 35p at 5,470p and Marks & Spencer added 4.7p at 450.2p.

Amid reports of healthy high street footfall and signs that the UK’s economy continues to improve, dealers were already speculating that supermarkets sales will be strong. Tesco and Morrisons added more than 1 per cent each at 340p and 267.7p, respectively.

And investors continued to show interest in BSkyB as rumours that it is a takeover target for cash-rich Vodafone persisted. It is thought the mobile phone group is looking to branch out into broadcasting after selling its American joint venture. Vodafone, which is itself seen as a takeover target unless it can bulk itself up, added 1.55p at 237.95p, while BSkyB’s shares rose 11.5p to 844.5p.