FTSE seen opening higher

The FTSE 100 index is seen rising this morning, extending gains from the previous session, with energy stocks likely to gain as oil hovered near a two-year high, while investors awaited a number of US economic releases ahead of the Christmas break.

The blue chip index looks set to advance 13 to 14 points, or as much as 0.2 per cent, according to financial bookmakers, after it closed up 31.69 points, or 0.5 per cent, at 5,983.49 yesterday.

"With volumes thin and the festivities setting in, it's expected that traders will try and push the FTSE 100 above the 6,000 mark in a bout of last minute Christmas shopping during the last full day of trading before the holiday," Jonathan Sudaria, a dealer at Capital Spreads, said.

Oil prices climbed near a two-year high, boosted by an unexpected surge in global demand that has fuelled the biggest drop in US crude stockpiles in more than a decade.

US economic data out today include November durable goods data and the latest weekly jobless claims data.

The economy could suffer another period of contraction in 2011, the Bank of England's executive director for markets Paul Fisher said in a newspaper interview.