Around the World's Markets: London

LEADING SHARES closed near an eight-week high, buoyed by gains in heavyweight drug shares and reassured by a firm Dow Jones average.

The FTSE 100 rose 28.8 points, or 0.46 per cent, to close at 6,280.8. At its best, the index hit 6,298.8, its highest intraday level since 10 September. A 4.4 per cent rise in SmithKline Beecham boosted the FTSE nine points, while Glaxo Wellcome and AstraZeneca rose more than 1.7 per cent each.