LONDON’S FTSE 100 Index powered more than 1% ahead today on fresh hopes of a deal being struck to avoid America’s so-called fiscal cliff.
Investor optimism over a resolution to the US budget crisis sent the FTSE 100 to its highest level for more than three weeks, up 67 points to 5870.3.
President Barack Obama spurred on markets after he said last night a deal could be reached to avoid the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts before Christmas.
But comments after the London market closed dampened spirits on Wall Street, with House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner saying there had been “no substantive progress” made on talks.
Sentiment was helped in London by a CBI report revealing improved sales on the high street in November for the third consecutive month in a row.
Heavily-weighted mining stocks led the FTSE 100 higher, with Kazakhmys the biggest riser with a 40.5p increase to 719p.
In corporate news, B&Q owner Kingfisher sank near the bottom of the FTSE 100 after it revealed a worse-than-expected 4% drop in like-for-like sales at the DIY chain.
Outside the top flight, Dixons Retail was also under pressure as it unveiled an underlying pre-tax loss of £22.2m in the 24 weeks to October 13, although this was less than the £25.3m loss seen a year earlier.
Shares in the owner of PC World and Currys fell 0.3p to 25.8p as the firm blamed the loss on its French online gadget business PIXmania after writing down the value of the business.
The biggest FTSE 100 risers were Kazakhmys up 40.5p to 719p, Rio Tinto ahead 149.5p to 3090p, Pennon 26p higher at 624.5p and Antofagasta up 53p to 1292p.
The biggest FTSE 100 fallers were John Wood Group down 35p to 780p, Hargreaves Lansdown off 13p to 750.5p, Arm Holdings 10p lower at 762.5p and BSkyB down 7.5p to 771.5p.