FTSE 100 closes above 7,200 for first time ever to end first week of 2017 on a high

 
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Consecutive highs on the FTSE have marked the New Year (Source: Getty)

The FTSE 100 ended the first week of January on a high as it closed above 7,200 points for the first time ever, driven by healthy US jobs data and strong performances in the defence sector.

London’s blue chip index has posted consecutive record closes since 22 December, and built on its winning streak on Friday to finish at 7,210.05 points. On Thursday the run of records became the longest on the FTSE 100 since May 1997, and Friday's close made it the fifth straight week of gains – the longest since the Brexit vote.

Defence contractor BAE Systems led gains, rising by 2.98 per cent, while industry companion Rolls Royce joined in the rally to gain 1.72 per cent after a JP Morgan downgrade had pushed it to the bottom of the pile the day before.

Read more: The FTSE 100 has reached another record high

The mainly healthy data on US jobs earlier in the day helped the dollar to resume its upward movement after a Christmas period lull, rising against the euro and pounds sterling.

The record streak for the FTSE has been prompted in large part by the sharp devaluation in sterling after the vote to leave the European Union.

A stronger dollar against the pound helps the UK’s main index, as it is comprised of a large proportion of multinational companies that earn in another currency but report earnings in pounds.

The dollar rises helped the banking sector to continue its six-month rally from lows hit after the Brexit vote. Barclays gained 1.16 per cent on the day, while HSBC rose by 1.13 per cent.

Jasper Lawler, an analyst at London Capital Group, said: "The first week of trading in 2017 has come and gone and it’s not been without its interesting price moves. The Chinese currency unwound two months of losses in two days, the US dollar touched fresh 14 year highs and the FTSE 100 and Nasdaq hit new all-time closing highs."

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