* FTSE 100 gains 0.6 percent
* Longest winning streak for index since October
* Index just 1.5 percent off of 2013 high
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, Dec 27 Britain's top share index rose on
Friday, taking its cue from fresh all-time highs hit on Wall
Street to notch up its sixth straight day of gains, its longest
winning streak in two months.
The gains confirmed a second straight positive week for FTSE
100 returns, and a 4.6 percent rally over the last
fortnight has taken the index into positive territory for
The FTSE 100 was up 42.85 points, or 0.6 percent, at
6,737.02 points by 1516 GMT, after both the Dow Jones and
the S&P 500 scaled record highs on Thursday, when the UK
market was shut for the Boxing Day holiday.
The rise made it the UK benchmark's longest winning streak
since October, fuelled by optimism that the U.S. economy is
strong enough to withstand the gradual withdrawal of monetary
Commodity related stocks were among the biggest risers as
well as the most heavily traded stocks in an otherwise quiet
session that saw a little more than a quarter of the average
volume traded with just an hour of trading left.
The basic materials sector, which contains miners and other
stocks sensitive to commodity prices, added 9 points to the
index's advance, as copper hit a four month high.
"There's a bit of volume coming back into some of the
commodity-related stocks, with commodity prices breaking through
some important levels," Manoj Ladwa, head of trading at TJM
Partners, said, adding that good data out of the United States
would help support commodity prices.
"The performance of the U.S. market is helping the UK
market, and I'm maintaining a target of 7,000 for the end of the
year on the FTSE, as the momentum is there."
In another positive sign for economic growth in the world's
largest economy, U.S. jobless claims fell more than expected on
Thursday. This followed robust U.S. durable goods orders data
released on Dec. 24.
The session's gains left the FTSE 1.5 percent off the 2013
closing high at 6,840, which was a 13-year-high and only just
over 100 points from the all-time peak.
"It feels like only a matter of time before we surpass the
October high, and might make it there before New Year," Will
Hedden, sales trader at IG, said.
"Then with the all time high around 6,950, it seems
reasonable that this could be hit during the first quarter of