(Daily Mail (London, England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 10--RAMPAGING bulls chased the fabulous Footsie 45.02 points higher to 6,098.65, its highest level since May 2008, on growing hopes that the global economy is well on the road to recovery. It followed an impressive start to the US fourth-quarter reporting season made by aluminium giant Alcoa, which reported a strong return to profitability. The FTSE 250 jumped 74.05 points to a record 12,709.06.
Heavyweight banks led the charge with Lloyds Banking Group, 41pc owned by the UK taxpayer, prominent with a gain of 2.51p or 4.9pc to a 52-week high of 53.37p after a UBS upgrade to buy from neutral and raised target price of 60p from 50p.
The broker advised clients that Lloyds' investment strategy is the simplest of the UK domestic banks. It will deliver rising margins, falling costs and falling provisions, which will provide a very strong upswing to profitability and earnings per share momentum over the next few years.
Despite having risen almost 90pc in 2012, the shares still have some way to go to get to the government's break-even price of 73.6p.
Royal Bank of Scotland, in which Joe and Joan Public owns 81pc, climbed 12.9p to 349.9p after UBS lifted its target price to 410p. Barclays added 7.55p to 294.75p.
Banks have this week also been buoyed by the watered-down version of Basel III 'liquidity coverage ratio' rules and delay to its introduction confirmed at the week-end. The much more lenient version of the draft agreed two years ago has attracted buyers to the sector.
Demand ahead of next Tuesday's trading update lifted luxury clothing group Burberry 20p to 1295p.
A Goldman Sachs upgrade to buy from neutral helped AMEC climb 16p to 1048p.
There was at last some good news for long suffering shareholders of Egyptian gold miner Centamin. The close was 5.8p or 13pc better at 49.98p after the company reported a record 85,543 ounces of gold in the fourth-quarter, up 40pc from the previous quarter. Total production for the year of 262,958 ounces, is well above the forecast of 250,000 ounces despite suffering a temporary suspension of operations in early December.
Insurer Aviva fell 8.2p to 373.7p after announcing late on Tuesday that it has disposed of its remaining 19.4pc stake in Delta Lloyd. The disposal comes hard on the heels of the sale of its US business last month.
FirstGroup reversed 7.1p to 197.9p on nervous selling sparked by rumours that a significant fund-raising exercise could be on the agenda.
Construction group Costain erected a gain of 7.5p at 263.5p after securing a contract with Network Rail for projects in the North West. The pounds sterling 48m contract is for phase three of the west coast power supply upgrade.
Buying on the back of a Canaccord Genuity recommendation and target price of 450p lifted AZ Electronic Materials 10.4p to 367.9p. The broker says in its view it is the global example of a perfect speciality chemicals company. It is developing a very interesting business in chemicals/materials for lighting, solar panels and specialist coatings outside the electronics markets.
Caledonia Mining firmed a penny to 7.25p after announcing it is to increase gold production by 90pc by 2016 at the Blanket gold mine in Zimbabwe from 40,000 ounces per annum to 76,000. The required capital expenditure of pounds sterling 23m will be funded entirely from the company's internal cash flows.
Southern African coal miner Coal of Africa advanced 1.5p to 20.75p after Beijing Haohua Energy Resources announced it had received the requisite Chinese approvals ahead of schedule to proceed with the subscription for pounds sterling 62.5m in the company at 25p a share.
Continuing its recent strong run, Continental Coal rose 1p further to 4.38p. Buyers have nibbled away since last month's announcement that it had completed first sales at its South African-based Penumbra coal mine.
Internet telephony service provider Coms put on 0.22p to 0.65p following the appointment of entrepreneur and 25pc shareholder David Breith as chief executive. He is a seasoned telecoms entrepreneur and in February 2011 sold O-bit telecom, a telecoms provider to resellers and large customers, to Daisy Telecom.
Andes Energia, the Latin American exploration company, rose 2.25p to 29.5p. News of a joint venture agreement between YPF and Bridas International to develop the unconventional potential of the Vaca Muerta formation in Argentina attracted buyers to AE which holds world class unconventional assets covering more than 278,000 net acres in the Neuquen basin covering the Vaca Muerta, Molles and Agrio.
Impressive fourth-quarter figures helped blur jump 18.5p to 105p. The operator of the world's leading Global Services Exchange reported a continuation of quarter on quarter growth.
THE recovery at home shopping group Findel, 0.03p easier at 8.85p, being driven by chief executive Roger Siddle, continues apace. The market should hear soon that he has sold its NRS Healthcare division, which supplies via contracts with local authorities, aids for daily living such as mobility scooters. A trading statement should also reveal that the company enjoyed a good Christmas trading period.
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