Last updated: December 14, 2012 5:10 pm

FTSE 100 stays within reach of year high

The FTSE 100’s slow and sustained end of year progress back towards its 2012 peak stumbled again on Friday, but the index managed to end Friday with a weekly gain.

Financial stocks, particularly insurers, led the main index lower, with Prudential losing 1.7 per cent to 882.87p and Admiral Group down 1.5 per cent to £11.36.

Miners, which had spent the early part of the session underscoring losses, turned higher, leaving gold producer Polymetal 2.3 per cent higher at £11.75, and copper miner Kazakhmys 1.9 per cent stronger at 758p.

The FTSE 100 ended the session down 0.1 per cent to 5,921.76 a loss of 8 points.

But the index remained within sight of its best levels of the year – 5,965.58, reached on March – and made a slim weekly gain of 0.1 per cent.

Some of the best individual gains came for defensive stocks. This served as a reminder that the prevailing mood was likely to remain one of cautious optimism rather than a full return to risk, at least until US politicians avoid the $600bn fiscal cliff, an automatic package of spending cuts and tax rises that could return the world’s biggest economy to recession.

Scottish and Southern Energy was 0.8 per cent higher at £14.44. Brewer SABMiller was 0.3 per cent stronger at £28.05.

On the FTSE 250, Centamin remained at the centre of attention, regaining much of the dizzying losses seen over the previous session.

The Egyptian gold miner’s shares rose 25.1 per cent to 34.64p after it said fuel supplies to its Sukari gold mine would resume. The news brings forward the date for it to resume operations after the company mothballed it this week due to a lack of diesel and a customs dispute with Egypt’s government.

The mid-cap index was 33 points higher overall at 12,244.24, a rise of 0.3 per cent, led by construction and investment stocks.

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