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Market Report: Bulls take breather after Goldman lift

In the tug of war that has been played out between the doomsayers and the optimists about the direction of the Footsie, the bulls have gained a heavyweight backer. Goldman Sachs predicted that the FTSE 100 will hit all-time highs within 12 months. The vampire-squid bank reckons the benchmark index will punch through the 6,999 level last seen more than a decade ago on the eve of the millennium, and roar all the way to 7,200.

Market Report: Fresnillo left with a free float dilemma

How will punters be able to get their hands on shares in the world's largest silver producer? Mexico's Fresnillo was discussing just that today. The miner is one of a handful of groups on the benchmark index facing a ticking clock – the deadline for their free float to reach 25 per cent is the end of the year.

Market Report: Vodafone powering Footsie on US buzz

The City was piling into Vodafone again today and it wasn't because of the FTSE 100 titan's new contract to supply smartphones to New Zealand's police officers. Welcome though the news may be to the Kiwi law enforcement fraternity, Voda has been the blue-chip story of the week for other reasons: namely speculation over its 45 per cent stake in United States operator Verizon Wireless.

Pension scheme closes at Wolseley

Wolseley has became the latest company to close its final-salary pension scheme to existing members.

Dow hits new record as traders bank on Fed support

Wall Street shrugs off weakness of US economy to continue upward trend

Market Report: Celebratory mood in Paternoster Square

Shares in the London Stock Exchange celebrated their imminent promotion into the blue-chip index by reaching a five-year high. The group, which is set to finalise the detail of its £366m deal to buy 60 per cent of the clearing house LCH Clearnet tomorrow, saw its shares jump 27p to 1,371p.

Footsie chairmen turn a blind eye to the critics and carry on raking it in

They are supposed to be the experienced older hands, the seen-it-all-before crew who are sensitive to public mood and who rein in the chief executive when he's getting too exuberant.

Aviva £2.3bn in the red after huge loses in sale of US arm

Aviva will fall deeply into the red this week when it writes off around £2bn from the value of its former US business.

Income inequality is at highest level since the 1930s, says report

The growing gulf between Britain's top and bottom earners is exposed in a report tomorrow, which shows that there are now 26,000 Britons taking home more in a month than those on average salaries earn in a year.

William Hill's online punt

William Hill's chief executive Ralph Topping said the bookmaker could swell to a £5bn business within five years as it spent £424m yesterday to take full control of its booming online operation.

Market Report: Gold miners shine out in a sea of red

Amid turmoil on the equity markets, gold miners were seen to be nearly as safe as the gold they dig up. There was a sea of red across traders' screens as the market was spooked by the Italian government election deadlock but the gold price ticked up, and gold miners Randgold Resources and Centamin glistened as the second-best risers in the benchmark and mid-cap index respectively.

BAE aims to offset profits slump with £1bn buyback

The defence giant BAE Systems moved to ease investor concerns over its slowing finances and failed mega-merger with Airbus owner Eads by kicking off a £1bn share buyback.

Vodafone and BAE announce security deal

Defence giant BAE has announced a five-year tie-up with Vodafone that will see the duo work on cyber-security products.

Mark Leftly: Tesco's new signing exhibits star quality

Outlook Liv Garfield's ascension to the board at Tesco is one of the more interesting corporate appointments of the year. A few years shy of 40, the mother of two (amazing how I wouldn't even think of writing 'father of two') is surely on the cusp of the big time.

Struggling Man Group hires KPMG to review its governance

Man Group, the troubled hedge fund that started life supplying rum to the Royal Navy in the 1780s, has asked KPMG to sort out its governance after a shareholder revolt last year.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'