FRIDAY MARKET CLOSE: Record close for FTSE as 7,000 scaled

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The FTSE 100 Index broke through the 7,000-mark as shares were buoyed by a recovery in the price of oil as well as hopeful signs over the Greek debt crisis.

The FTSE had been on the cusp of the landmark since soaring to new highs in the previous session, following on from a Budget-inspired rally earlier in the week.

London’s leading share index peaked at a new intraday record of 7024.22 before setting a new all-time closing high of 7,022.51, up 60.2 points in the day.

Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “It is pleasing to see the psychological barrier of 7,000 reached at last. The fact that the FTSE 100 is now some 7 per cent ahead in the year to date is a sign of ongoing optimism from investors, despite the wider challenges being faced.”

Germany’s Dax and France’s Cac 40 were also strongly ahead, as was New York’s Dow Jones Industrial Average.

In London, improvements in commodities prices lifted Anglo American 54.5p to 1100.5p while Glencore added 13.6p to 299.3p and Fresnillo rose 27.5p to 706.5p.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude edged above $55 during the session helping heavyweight BP climb 10.1p to 451p and rival Royal Dutch Shell add 31p to 2,171p.

UK-listed Irish building supplies firm CRH also rose strongly, adding 5 per cent after France’s Lafarge and Switzerland’s Holcim said their £5 billion mega merger was back on.

To satisfy regulatory concerns CRH had agreed to buy Lafarge Tarmac in the UK, but a hitch with the larger deal earlier this month had also put the CRH purchase on hold. CRH closed the day 89p higher at 1,840p.