* FTSE 100 up 0.5 pct in late session trading
* Global equity markets buoyed by U.S. jobs data
* FTSE to end 2014 at 7,500 -Dt Bank strategists
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, April 4 Britain's top equity index hit
its highest level in around three weeks on Friday, boosted by
gains in sectors seen as among the most sensitive to an upturn
in the global economy, such as banks and miners.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was up by 0.5 percent,
or 33.92 points, at 6,686.06 points in late trading.
Global equity markets were also buoyed by U.S. employment
data, which suggested the world's biggest economy may be gaining
U.S. employers maintained a solid pace of hiring for a
second straight month in March, the non-farm payrolls report
showed, highlighting resilience in an economy that had been hit
by a brutally cold winter.
London-listed banking and mining stocks - which often
outperform on signs of global economic growth but can also
underperform on weak economic data - added the most points to
the FTSE 100.
"There are interesting stocks to be had right across the
market. Miners like Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton,
and banks like Standard Chartered and Barclays
look interesting," said Investec Asset Management fund manager
The FTSE 100 rose 14.4 percent in 2013 to post its best
annual gain since 2009.
The index reached a peak of 6,867 points in January this
year, its best level since early 2000, but it has since slipped
back due to concerns over a slump in emerging markets and
tensions between Russia and Western powers over Ukraine.
Deutsche Bank's equity strategists expect the FTSE to end
2014 at the 7,500 point level, which would mark a record high
for the index. Hantec Markets analyst Richard Perry also sees
the FTSE recovering from the pullback in March.
"The momentum is with the recovery on the FTSE," said Perry.
However, Strand Capital managing director Kyri Kangellaris
sees the FTSE stuck in a range of 6,500-6,850 points, as long as
it fails to break above its January high of 6,867 points and
last year's peak of around 6,876 points.
"We're looking range-bound for the near term," Kangellaris
(Additional reporting by Tricia Wright; Editing by Catherine
Evans and Susan Fenton)