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Last Updated: Friday, 17 March 2006, 16:45 GMT
FTSE 100 makes it back to 6,000
The headquarters of the London Stock Exchange
The stock market is set to end the week on a high note
The FTSE 100, London's premier stock index, has broken through the 6,000 level for the first time in five years.

The blue-chip index rose as high as 6,044 early in the day, before finally closing just shy of the magic number at 5,999.4 - up 6.2 points.

The blue-chip index was last at 6,000 in March 2001. The all-time high for the index, of 6,930.2, came on 30 December 1999.

Insurers were among the main gainers, with Legal & General leading the way.

Ongoing merger activity, strong corporate earnings and buybacks have fuelled the FTSE's comeback.

Rocketing oil prices and commodities plus a recovering housing market have kept the market's spirits up in recent months.

The market's ebullient mood was further boosted on Friday by Vodafone, whose shares rose 2% after it confirmed it had sold its Japanese arm to Softbank for a higher-than-expected 8.9bn.

Legal & General rallied 7.8% after beating profits forecasts.

Deals galore

Global stock markets have faced a long struggle to regain confidence after the burst of the dotcom bubble at the start of the century and the impact of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US.

Many experts believe the market is still not expensive and may add another 500 points
Richard Hunter, Hargreaves Lansdown

The FTSE 100 still has close to a thousand points to go if it is to regain its all-time high of 6,950 reached in December 1999, fuelled by the internet boom.

But this is far from impossible, according to analysts.

"Many experts believe the market is still not expensive and may add another 500 points," said Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown.





MARKET DATA - 11:36 UK

FTSE 100
5429.64up
23.70 0.44%
Dax
5733.05up
19.54 0.34%
Cac 40
3784.02up
14.48 0.38%
Dow Jones
10403.79up
78.53 0.76%
Nasdaq
2273.57up
35.31 1.58%
S&P 500
1115.71up
11.22 1.02%
BBC Global 30
5707.15up
20.65 0.36%
Data delayed by at least 15 minutes

SERVICES

SEE ALSO:
FTSE stays the same after review
08 Mar 06 |  Business
FTSE briefly hits four-year high
23 Dec 05 |  Business
FTSE 100 index closes at 5,000
10 Feb 05 |  Business


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