UK stocks : FTSE 100 index up 0.5 pct


UK stock closing: UK shares posted gains for a fifth straight day on Friday, concluding their strongest week of the year with a broad-based rise on hopes that international lenders will soon release a new tranche of aid to Greece.

However, volume was low at 55 percent of the average 90 day volume, as many investors stayed out of the market after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday ahead of a crucial meeting on Monday that will tackle the Greek debt crisis.

The International Monetary Fund has relaxed its debt-reduction target for Greece and only a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) gap remains to be filled before a vital aid instalment can be paid, Greece's finance minister said on Friday.

Volumes have been pretty lacklustre but there seems to be some optimism ahead of Monday and on a solution for the fiscal cliff, Atif Latif, Director of Trading at Guardian stockbrokers, said in an e-mail.

Also risk on has been apparent since the Chinese PMI data earlier this week and this has allowed miners to move back up on heavier volume, he said, referring to what he perceived to be a greater appetite for risky assets.

Although the short term outlook was better because of the U.S. holiday and a lack of economic data, he said traders remained concerned on the outcome for Europe and the low growth environment we are faced with.

The FTSE 100 index closed up 28.11 points, or 0.5 percent, at 5,819.14, taking gains for the week up to 3.8 percent, beating the year's best week so far, recorded in May.

It was only the third time this year the FTSE had posted five straight days of gains, with the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday disrupting usual trends in Friday profit-taking activity.

The five consecutive day rally (in the UK market) is interesting, as the S&P has only ever rallied 4 consecutive days into Thanksgiving nine times before. And every time it's done that, it's rallied on the Friday as well, Andy Ash, Head of Sales at Monument Securities, said.

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