FTSE 100 surpasses 2016 highest point to close at record high as miners drive end-of-year gains

Jasper Jolly
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London's blue chip index broke through previous closing prices (Source: Getty)

The FTSE 100 surpassed its record highest close on Wednesday as investors started returning to their desks after the Christmas break.

London’s blue chip index was one of the top performing indices worldwide as mining stocks drove it above its highest previous close to reach 7,106.08 points. That beat the 7103.98 point close set in April 2015.

Sterling's continued weakness also contributed towards the UK index. FTSE 100 constituents make much of their earnings in other currencies.

Meanwhile the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) in New York continued to flirt with the symbolic 20,000 level. The DJIA has risen from well below 18,000 points since before the election of Donald Trump as US President. It has risen on the back of expectations of a deregulatory, tax-cutting agenda allied with a big infrastructure spending spree.

Read more: What next for the FTSE 100?

In London gains were led by miners, who look set to end the year on a high. Mexican miner Fresnillo rose by over five per cent, closing with a gain of 5.22 per cent.

Randgold Resources was close behind, posting a 4.88 per cent gain – although it has significantly weakened over the last six months – while BHP Billiton finished strongly to gain 4.29 per cent and Rio Tinto posted an increase of well over three per cent.

However, airlines struggled, with International Consolidated Airlines Group, owner of British Airways, falling by 2.76 per cent and easyJet falling by 2.03 per cent.

Housebuilders also faced weakness, with British Land and Land Securities falling by 2.89 per cent and 2.90 per cent respectively.

Read more: FTSE 100 charges towards 14-month high as miners gain

Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, said: “The FTSE 100 is the star performer today, helped on its way higher by an excellent turn from the index’s mining contingent.

“The sector was one of the really big winners in 2016, making a remarkable comeback over the past twelve months, and it makes sense to think that investors are looking to juice a few more points out of the rally as the year-end approaches,” he added.

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