FTSE 100 closes at record high as firms given boost by tumbling pound

The FTSE 100 has hit a new all-time highest closing price, as the value of the pound tumbled against the US dollar to hand firms on Britain’s top stock market index a boost.

The index was up 1.62 per cent as trading closed at 8,023.87 points on Monday, surpassing its previous closing record of 8,012.53 from February 2023 – but falling short of its all-time peak of 8,047.06, which it touched briefly within a trading day in February.

As the pound fell to its lowest point against the dollar for around five months, dropping to 0.2 per cent to $1.23, the blue-chip index leapt 128.02 points by Monday afternoon.

Despite being listed in London, many FTSE members make much of their earnings abroad or in dollars such as oil giants Shell and BP.

Retailers Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Ocado were among the biggest risers of the day, as investor sentiment was lifted on continued hopes that tensions in the Middle East will ease, which helped oil prices retreat.

But Rachel Winter, partner at Killik & Co, said the strong performance by the FTSE 100 was “largely due to the weakness of sterling versus the dollar”.

She added: “The FTSE contains a large number of big international companies that earn their revenue in dollars and report their profits in sterling.

“When the dollar strengthens, these companies become more profitable in sterling terms.

“The strength of the dollar is due to sticky inflation in the US, which means that US interest rates will remain higher for longer.”

The FSE 100 has gained 4 per cent this year, less than European rivals such as France’s CAC and Germany’s DAX, which are up more than 6 per cent.

The index is also lagging its US rivals, with the S&P500 index of New York-listed firms up 5.65 per cent.

London is struggling to attract new stock market listings, with businesses looking to sell shares instead favouring the US, with its higher tolerance for big pay packets for bosses and access to more investors who are willing to offer higher share prices.

Shell, the energy giant, is the latest company to consider abandoning its base in the UK for the US.

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