UPDATE 1-UK's FTSE posts its 3rd best Christmas rally as Sky rises

Tue Dec 24, 2013 8:04am EST

* FTSE 100 up 0.2 percent, up for 5th day

* Index posts 3rd best Christmas rally since launch

* Seen at 6,743 by year-end - Gekko Global Markets

* London market reopens on Dec. 27

By Francesco Canepa

LONDON, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Britain's top share index rose for a fifth session on Tuesday, posting its third-sharpest Christmas rally since its launch in 1984, helped by a surge in broadcaster BSkyB.

Shares in BSkyB rose 2.5 percent, taking their gains so far this week to 4.9 percent, as a Daily Mail report revived speculation about a bid from Vodafone, aimed at bundling the groups' broadband, TV and landline offers.

The stock had traded 68 percent of its full-day volume average for the past three months when the market closed at 1230 GMT, compared to 15 percent for the FTSE 100.

London's stock market will remain shut for the next two days for the Christmas holiday.

The FTSE closed up 15.56 points, or 0.2 percent, at 6,694.17 points in its fifth straight day of gains, boosted by strong data from the United States and a gradual approach to stimulus reduction by the Federal Reserve.

The index has gained 3.2 percent in the past five days, its third-best run into Christmas since the index's launch three decades ago, Datastream data showed.

After half of the FTSE's 10 best Christmas rallies the index fell in the first two weeks of January, the data showed, making some investors cautious on the market's outlook.

"I'd be happy to let it go up until new year. At the moment even if you wanted to (sell it) you can't do it (due to the low volumes)," said Andy Ash, head of sales at Monument Securities.

"Then if you're going to sell it on the seasonality there's plenty of volume on the first and second (trading days) of January."

Ash, however, said he would first take profit on the U.S. S&P 500, arguing that the FTSE 100 could still be boosted by money flows into Europe and a rebound in emerging markets.

The FTSE, which generates a quarter of its revenues from emerging markets, has risen about 13 percent this year, less than half the rise in the S&P as the U.S. economy improved and the dollar strengthened, causing volatility in emerging market currencies.

Jordan Hiscott, senior trader at Gekko Global Markets, reckons the FTSE will eke out further gains this year, though could struggle to overcome 6,743.

Resistance could come into play at this level, he said, and the 14-day relative strength index (RSI), a momentum indicator, is moving back up towards overbought territory.

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