London's leading share index edged closer to the 6,000 barrier today, as financials put the FTSE 100 on track for its sixth straight session of gains.
Having already closed above a technical resistance level of 5,950 last night, insurers helped it hit a new eight month high today, with the index gaining 0.5% or 30 points, to 5,985.
The index has notched up a 7% gain since the turn of the year, amid a brighter global economic outlook.
Sentiment has improved as fears over a systemic debt crisis in the eurozone receded, while a better than expected uptick in US growth has also driven markets upwards.
The index has not traded above 6,000 since last July, prior to the steep market correction.
The market subsequently fell below 5,000 and flirted with bear market territory, as concerns mounted over the sustainability of Europe's sky-high debt levels.
However, the blue-chip index bounced back sharply from the sell-off in the last quarter of the year, ending 2011 trading at 5,572, only a 5.6% decline for the whole year. It is widely expected to break through the 6,000 mark in the near term.
Today Legal & General was top of the leaderboard, after the firm's annual operating profits were well received by the market.
The group reported profits of £1.1bn, up from £1bn a year earlier, pushing its share price up 4.2% or 5p to 131p.
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