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FTSE ends day ahead after breaking 6,400

Stockmarket FTSE 450

The FTSE 100 has ended the day ahead after minutes from the Bank of England’s last monetary policy meeting sparked speculation that fresh quantitative easing could be on the cards.

Wednesday closed with the blue-chip index up 9.69 points to 6,388.76. The FTSE broke the 6,410 mark earlier in the session after the Bank’s minutes showed the Monetary Policy Committee was split at its February meeting over whether to add another £25bn to its quantitative easing programme.

Sentiment was also buoyed by figures from the Office for National Statistics, which showed UK unemployment dropped by 14,000 people to 2.5m during the final quarter of 2012.

Consumer packaging company Rexam was the day’s strongest riser, gaining 5.2 per cent to 501.5p after reporting better-than-expected full-year underlying profit and forecasting further growth in North America, its largest market.

Industrial turnaround specialist Melrose was up 3.6 per cent to 251.4p, Royal Bank of Scotland rose 2.5 per cent to 353.8p, British American Tobacco gained 2.3 per cent to 3,467p and Schroders advanced 1.7 per cent to 2,009p.

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