The FTSE 250 hit a new record high this morning as investors made the most of the pound's low, low price against the euro - and it was dragged higher by a real estate merger.
The index jumped almost 250 points to 19,600 in early trading as the pound fell more than one per cent against the euro following polling figures which showed Emmanuel Macron looks set to become France's next President.
It was also dragged higher by Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate, which leaped more than 13 per cent to 1,109p after its parent company, Kennedy-Wilson Holdings, announced plans for a £1.5bn merger.
The victory for Macron in France boosted bank stocks across Europe, with Barclays leading the FTSE 100 after it jumped five per cent to 218.5p. Standard Chartered rose 3.7 per cent to 711.5p, while RBS, which is expected to unveil disappointing results this week, rose 7.8 per cent to 246.4p. Lloyds rose 2.4 per cent to 65.9p.
"Banks are doing well because there is now no major risk of significant outflows from the European banking system as investors no longer worry about the future of the euro," said Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital.
"The recovery in European banks is a sign that with Macron anchoring French politics, it’s going to be easier for the European Central Bank to raise rates and/or taper sooner; easier for businesses to invest and grow earnings; and that global reflation is still on. US stocks should enjoy a bump today too."