Britain's FTSE hits new five-year closing high
The FTSE 100 ended up 47.91 points, or 0.7 percent, at 6,529.41, its highest close since late 2007, after better than expected U.S. weekly jobless claims data.
Some bet on more gains from the index, up almost 11 percent this year and around 6 percent shy of an all-time closing high of 6,930.20 set in December 1999, months before the dot-com bubble burst.
"Overall the trend from a technical point of view looks healthy and upwards ... I don't think it's beyond the realms of possibility that the FTSE could hit an all-time high some time this year," said Angus Campbell, head of market analysis at Capital Spreads.
Gerard Lane, equity strategist at Shore Capital, meanwhile, said: "In the back of my mind, I've got 7,000 for Christmas, but I wouldn't be surprised if we see a big shake-out before then, partly because we inevitably do," he said.
Financials led the risers, with good gains seen from Prudential, up 2.7 percent, as yield-hungry investors continued to snap up shares in the insurer which ramped up its dividend by a bigger-than-expected 16 percent on Wednesday.
Retailers were also in favour. Britain's fourth-biggest grocer Wm Morrison added 1.7 percent after raising its dividend by 10 percent and announcing talks with online grocer Ocado over an online food operation.
Ocado, which has been the talk of bid rumours involving Morrisons and is one of the
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