Markets push higher despite fears

Fresh fears that politicians are struggling to get to grips with the eurozone debt crisis failed to dampen the mood of investors today.

World markets pushed higher despite reports that it is increasingly unlikely that a crunch meeting of European leaders on Sunday will agree the expansion of the 440 billion euro (£383.9 billion) bailout fund.

It had been hoped that the leaders would agree to increase the fund to well over one trillion euro, to give it more firepower to lend to struggling economies and help restore confidence in banks.

But it is understood that France and Germany are at loggerheads and the decision will be pushed back to a second meeting to be held by Wednesday.

Other key decisions, including whether Greece should be let off more of its debt repayments, may also be delayed.

Despite the uncertainty over the crisis, the FTSE 100 Index in London rose more than 0.5% today, as investors were encouraged that a second meeting was being scheduled so quickly.

The CAC 40 in France and the Dax in Germany also made gains after the Dow Jones Industrial Average's cautious ascent overnight.