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Your Money: STOCKWATCH.

Byline: EDITED by STEVE HAWKES

A SEASONAL Santa Claus rally looks on the cards after the FTSE 100 hit a new four-year high last night.

Drugs giant AstraZeneca climbed 2.4 per cent higher on news it's starting tests on a new lung cancer drug.

And EMI struck the right chord with investors, racing 10 per cent on takeover speculation.

Relief that insurer Old Mutual will not raise a bid of its own for Skandia helped it up 2.6 per cent.

British biotech firm Skyepharma jumped 4.7 per cent on rumours Swiss group Novartis may make an offer.

"Takeover deals are underpinning the market," said Richard Hunter at stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown. "If we can hang on to 5500, we could be in for a year-end rally."

Of those reporting updates, housebuilder Crest Nicholson rose 1.2 per cent on a jump in forward orders, and mortgage lender Paragon climbed 5.1 per cent after strong results.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 24, 2005
Words:158
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