May 9, 2013 / 7:21 AM / 6 years ago

FTSE edges up to new five-and-a-half year highs

The London Stock Exchange building is seen in central London September 24, 2009. REUTERS/Stephen Hird

LONDON (Reuters) - The FTSE 100 edged up to fresh peaks on Thursday, with the market at a five-and-a-half year high, and traders said a backdrop of central bank support would keep its upward trend intact.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed up 0.1 percent, or 9.26 points, at 6,592.74 points - its highest level since early 2008.

The FTSE 100 has risen around 12 percent this year, boosted by injections of liquidity and interest rate cuts by world central banks, shrinking bond yields. this has driven investors to the better yields on offer in equities.

“The FTSE seems to be stabilising at these levels, but with the upward trend still intact,” said Spreadex trader Max Cohen.

Credit data company Experian gave one of the biggest lifts to the FTSE with a 6.4 percent rise that topped the market’s leaderboard, after it reported higher profits.

JN Financial trader Rick Jones said some might look to sell shares at current levels in order to book profits on the rally. That could push the FTSE down to 6,480 points, but he said the index then would probably soon recover to 6,630 points.

“I wouldn’t be trying to call the top of the market here. It’s very difficult to stay short of the market because of all the central bank intervention,” he added.

Technical analysis charts showed the FTSE could meet some resistance at around 6,610 points. HSBC strategist Robert Parkes also said UK stocks looked attractive on valuation grounds.

According to Thomson Reuters Starmine data, the UK stock market has a forecast average price-to-earnings per share (EPS) ratio of 12.3 times for the next 12 months - a slightly cheaper multiple than the 12.7 times ratio for the pan-European STOXX 600 index.

additional reporting by Atul Prakash Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.

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