FTSE edges closer to 4,600 barrier in morning trading

The FTSE 100 Index was testing the 4,600 barrier today after traders were buoyed by a strong session for shares on Wall Street last night.

The FTSE 100 Index was testing the 4,600 barrier today after traders were buoyed by a strong session for shares on Wall Street last night.

The continuation of the London market’s recent strong run saw the top-flight index rise by 26.4 points to stand at 4593.7 by mid-morning.

The performance came after the Dow Jones Industrial Average moved back above the 10,000 level as investors welcomed an update from digger maker Caterpillar and signs that US interest rates were set to remain on hold.

In London, a clutch of industrial stocks made progress despite the cost of oil remaining near a record high in New York.

Risers included Rolls-Royce after it said Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries had agreed to become a partner on the Trent 1000 engine being developed for the Boeing 7E7 Dreamliner. Rolls shares stood at the top of the risers board with an improvement of 6.5p to 253.5p.

Among other industrial-based firms, Hanson cheered 10.75p to 409.25p and building materials company Wolseley rose 17.5p to 955.5p.

Media stocks also caught the eye after FTSE 250 Index radio companies GWR and Capital announced plans for a merger of equals. The deal – valuing the new company at more than £700 million – did little for the pair’s share prices with Capital falling 9.75p to 423p and Classic FM owner GWR slipping 20.5p to 252p.

Elsewhere, electricals group Kesa lost 6.5p to 282.25p as traders overlooked a strong half-year performance from Comet to focus on the profits fall at French electricals and furniture division BUT.

However, music retailer HMV geared up for Christmas in positive fashion, lifting half a penny to 228.75p after announcing a 2.5% rise in like-for-like sales over the past three months.

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