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London shares reach 12-year high



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The FTSE 100 has closed at its highest level for more than 12 years, finishing 32 points up on the day at 6,756.

That leaves it just short of the FTSE's all-time highest finish - the level of 6,930 reached in December 1999.

Analysts say investors are increasingly putting their money into stock markets because interest rate cuts had made the return on bonds appear unattractive.

Banks were the day's big gainers, with RBS up 4.5% after a broker upgrade. Airline Easyjet was also up 4%.

The FTSE 100 has been reaching fresh highs on the back of money-printing measures by central banks, including the Bank of England, which have cut the price of government debt and sent equities rocketing. The last time it reached the current level was in September 2000.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 have been reaching levels not seen for years.

Upwards

Jawaid Afsar, a sales trader at Securequity, said the FTSE 100 keeps "grinding higher, and there's no real selling pressure".

He added: "Everyone keeps trying to call the top of the market but any wobble is another occasion to buy into it. The momentum is still bullish."

The day's other leading performers included BT - up 2.6% - and United Utilities, which rose 2.5% after an upgrade of the sector by Goldman Sachs and recent excitement surrounding the overseas bid interest in rival Severn Trent.