FTSE 100 continues longest record closing streak
The FTSE 100 hit its tenth consecutive record closing high on Wednesday, propelled by a drop in sterling after the currency fell to its lowest level since the October "flash crash".
The blue chip index rose 15.02 points to 7,290.49, surpassing Tuesday's all-time high of 7,275.47 and marking its longest record closing streak in history.
It also set a fresh mid-session high of 7,328.51, with stocks fuelled by a near 1% drop in sterling against the US dollar to around 1.20.
Sterling weakness tends to benefit multinational companies listed on the FTSE 100, as income in foreign currencies boosts pound-denominated earnings.
The pound was dragged lower by data showing that Britain's trade gap widened to £4.2 billion in November, as well as a rise in the greenback in anticipation of Donald Trump's news conference.
It was the lowest level for the pound since the so-called "flash crash" in early October, when a suspected rogue algorithm sent the pound tumbling to fresh 31-year lows versus the greenback at 1.18 dollars.
But investors started to pull back from the US currency during the president-elect's press conference, helping the pound trim losses to trade near 1.215 against the dollar.
Mr Trump suggested that intelligence agencies may be responsible for the release of a dossier containing allegations that Russia holds compromising information about him.
He also confirmed he would voluntarily hand over control of his business empire to his two sons.
Against the euro, sterling was flat at 1.153.
Across Europe, the French CAC 40 was relatively flat, while the German DAX was up 0.5%.
In oil markets, Brent crude prices rose over 2.5% at 55.98 US dollars per barrel (£46.18), rising on the back of reports of supply cuts by Opec member Saudi Arabia.
In UK stocks, Taylor Wimpey shares fell 4.3p to 170.6p despite posting a 4% jump in home completions last year, as its year-end order order book excluding joint ventures edged lower to £1.68 billion from £1.78 billion."
Sainsbury shares rose 2.6p to 261.4p after reporting a 0.1% rise in like-for-like sales in the 15 weeks to January 7, as robust Black Friday trading helped its recent Argos acquisition notch up a 4% hike in like-for-like sales.
Foxtons shares fell 3.23p to 95.75p. The estate agent blamed a "significant fall in sales volumes" for dragging on full-year revenue, with earnings expected to have plummeted 45% to about £25 million as a result.
Ted Baker shares soared 135p to 2,784p after the company announced a 17.9% increase in retail sales for the eight weeks to January 7.
Shares in Cineworld fell 12p to 593p despite a combination of blockbuster films including Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Bridget Jones's Baby and The Jungle Book helping full-year revenue jump 12.6%.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Anglo American up 47.5p at 1,285p, Dixons Carphone up 12.4p at 357p, Worldpay Group up 6.8p at 291p, and BT Group up 9.15p at 396.85p.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Tui down 54p at 1,137p, Fresnillo down 51p at 1,381p, Shire down 153p at 4,681.5p, and Morrison Supermarkets down 6.5p at 239.5p.