UK stocks posted their biggest monthly gains in six years yesterday as the rally in global equities gained fresh impetus from rising hopes that the worst of the global recession is over.

Banking stocks led the way as the FTSE 100 entered an official bull market, a rise of more than 20 per cent from recent lows in March. Anthony Bolton, president of investments at Fidelity International, said: “All the things are in place for the bear market to have ended.”

The FTSE 100 rose 1.3% yesterday for a monthly gain of 8.1%, its biggest jump since April 2003. It closed at 4,243.71, its highest level since mid-February. It is up 20.8% since its March 3 low.

Robert Parkes, equity strategist at HSBC, said: 'The markets no longer think we are heading for financial Armaggedon.'

Financial Times