LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) index has jumped 22 points to 6,220 as of 8:10 a.m. EST to register its highest level in almost five years. The blue-chip index was last seen above 6,200 on May 19, 2008, when it closed at 6,377.
Today's gain extends the FTSE's stint above 6,000 to 17 trading days. The blue-chip index breached 6,000 at the start of the year, prompted in part by American politicians agreeing on a last-minute deal to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff."
Since then, the FTSE's momentum has been supported by strong performances from ARM, BG, and Royal Bank of Scotland. Indeed, the market has added almost 700 points, or 12%, since drifting to 5,521 at the end of November. Banks and miners have headed the two-month rally.
The FTSE 100 first crossed 6,200 during February 1999 and spent most of 2000 and 2007 above that level.
The FTSE 100 at 6,200 now trades on a P/E of 12.1 and yields about 3.5%. On an earnings basis, the index does seem to be skewed toward heavyweights Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Rio Tinto, and Vodafone, all of which trade on forecast multiples of between eight and 11. Meanwhile, defensive favorites remain as popular as ever. Unilever, for instance, which reported results yesterday, trades at a somewhat racy 19 times 2012 profits.
Of course, not every share will be lifted by a rising market. In the States, Apple has seen its stock slump from $700 to $514 during the last few months on worries of lower growth. Flat profits announced last night are likely to thump the shares today, too.
And there are other big-name quality shares around that have been left behind by the FTSE's dash to 6,000 and beyond. Some of these laggards are identified within this free report, which reviews the favorite high-yield blue chips of Neil Woodford for 2013 and beyond. Woodford has beaten the FTSE 100 by more than 200% during the 15 years to October 2012 -- and he boasts a nine-year run of thrashing the wider market. The potential winners he's backing can be discovered by clicking here right now.