* FTSE 100 closes up 1.2 pct at 6,672.66 points
* FTSE rises for 5th straight session
* Retail stocks buoyed by strong UK retail sales
* Barclays falls after posting lower profits
* FTSE could hit 6,900 over coming month -APS Alpha
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Feb 11 Britain's top equity index rose
for a fifth straight session on Tuesday, boosted by retailers
which were up strongly on industry data that provided more
evidence the UK's economic recovery is slowly gathering
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed up by 1.2
percent, or 81.11 points, at 6,672.66 points - marking the
index's highest closing level since late January.
Trading volumes on the FTSE came in at around 1.5 times
above the index's average 90-day volume.
The FTSE 100 rose 14.4 percent in 2013 to post its best
annual gain since 2009, but the index has declined 1.1 percent
since the start of 2014 as global equity markets have fallen on
political and economic concerns in emerging markets.
IPR Capital director Steven Mayne said he would initially
look to see if the FTSE could get beyond late January's peak
level of around 6,867 points before deciding to take a more
bullish view on the stock market.
Adrian Slack, technical strategist at London-based firm APS
Alpha, was more confident and expected the FTSE to reach 6,900
points in the coming month.
"I'm expecting further upside. We should push onwards and
upwards," said Slack.
Retailers dominated the FTSE's leaderboard of top-performing
stocks, after a monthly industry survey showed British retail
sales rebounded after a weak December to record their strongest
annual growth since April 2011.
Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital, described the UK
retail sales figures as superb.
Sportswear retailer Sports Direct rose 3.4 percent,
clothing and food retailer Marks & Spencer gained 3.3
percent while home improvements company Kingfisher was
up 3.2 percent.
In contrast, British bank Barclays was the FTSE's
biggest faller in percentage terms - it declined by 3.8 percent
after posting a drop in profits.
Traders also said Barclays' management had a hard time
trying to convince analysts on a conference call about its
cost-cutting and restructuring plans.
APS Alpha's Slack said he would use any pullback in the
market to buy up equity positions, given his expectations the
FTSE 100 could hit a record level of 7,000 points during the
second quarter of this year.
"We're still looking to buy on the dip," he said.