The FTSE 100 hits another all-time high

LONDON — Britain’s benchmark share index, the FTSE 100, hit another record high on Friday morning, coming close to breaking the 7,600 point mark for the first time in its history.

In the first hour of trade, the FTSE hit 7,595 points, passing the previous intraday record of 7,587 points, set earlier this week. By around 9.45 a.m. BST (4.45 a.m. ET) the index has shed some of those gains, falling back to 7,575 points. It is still around 0.4% higher since the open.

Should the index be able to hold onto those gains it would break its closing high record, set on May 26 this year when the bourse finished at 7,547 points.

Insurer Old Mutual (up 2.2%) is leading the FTSE 100 higher, as is British Airways’ parent company IAG (up 1.7%). IAG is bouncing back from a bad week for the stock, following the IT issues last weekend which stranded thousands of passengers.

A new all-time record comes on the same day that the latest IHS Markit and CIPS’ latest PMI release for the construction sector — which measures expectations of growth — came in well above expectations. The survey showed a reading of 56 in May.

That was up from a reading of 53.1 in April, and even further above the 52.7 forecast by economists prior to the release. The PMI release seems to have had little material impact on the index.

“Shares are rising as part of a global cyclical turnaround and sterling weakness is increasingly less important,” Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital said in an emailed statement.

“The pound is still an important factor in the UK market in terms of overall valuations but after the correlation broke down after the referendum, there are signs it’s coming back, with the FTSE no longer simply reacting to cable; going up with the pound falls and dropping when the pound rises.”

The FTSE’s new record comes after US stocks broke new highs on Thursday evening ahead of Friday’s hotly anticipated jobs report. All three major US indices finished up, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq touching record highs.

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