Friday market close: Record FTSE high after poll drags sterling

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London’s premier index pushed to a record high and the pound sank after a shock poll showed the Conservatives’ lead was slipping ahead of the general election.

The FTSE 100 Index hit a mid-session record of 7,554.21, before rising 29.92 points to close at an all-time high of 7,547.63.

The pound dropped to a two-month low against the euro, slipping 0.9 per cent to $1.143, after Theresa May’s advantage over Labour narrowed to just five points in the first opinion poll since Monday night’s suicide bomb attack in Manchester.

Sterling was also tracking a one-month low versus the US dollar, down 1.2 per cent to $1.278, with the greenback compounding the pound’s woes by rising on better-than-expected economic data from America.

Blue-chip companies, which report in US dollars or euros, get a lift on the FTSE 100 Index when the pound suffers.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “This surprise poll has acted as an additional catalyst in pushing the pound to a two-month low against the euro and its lowest level this month against the US dollar.

“Having started the campaign on a ‘strong and stable’ footing, recent policy missteps by Mrs May have seen the election campaign take on the look of an ‘ugly contest’ of mediocre candidates, and that appears to be being reflected in the recent performance of the pound.”

Away from the top-tier, the FTSE 250 Index, seen as a better barometer of the health of UK business, also reached an all-time closing high, rising 57.34 to 20,024.92.

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