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FTSE 100 eyes record high following gains

The blue chip index closed 0.31%, or 23.58 points, up at 7,724.55.

ITV results

The FTSE 100 ended the week in positive territory on Friday as analysts signalled London’s top flight could soon hit new highs if it continues its upward trajectory.

The blue chip index closed 0.31%, or 23.58 points, up at 7,724.55.

It represents the seventh successive week of gains and comes a day after the Bank of England opted to keep interest rates on hold, despite having signalled a hike was on the cards only weeks ago.

Experts believe the FTSE 100 could break its all-time intraday high of 7,792.56, which was achieved in mid-January.

“Maintaining this pace of growth would put the blue chip index at new record highs early next week,” according to Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

In stocks, ITV was riding high at the top of the FTSE 100.

The broadcasting giant was building on gains booked on Thursday, when it reported a 5% rise in total external first-quarter revenue. Shares ended up 11.65p at 172p.

Barclays shares advanced 0.65p to 214.45p, even as chief executive Jes Staley was fined £642,430 by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for his attempt to unmask a whistleblower.

The City watchdog concluded that he failed to “act with due skill, care and diligence” in 2016, when he tried to identify the author of a letter sent to Barclays.

Shares in ZPG, the company behind Zoopla, surged over 30%, or 114.8p, to 490p following news that it is to be taken over by US private equity firm Silver Lake Management for £2.2 billion.

Silver Lake is offering 490p in cash per share for the firm, representing a 31% premium on ZPG’s closing share price on May 10.

Interserve, meanwhile, dipped after it emerged that the troubled outsourcer is being investigated by the City watchdog over its handling of inside information.

The group said in a stock market update that it has been referred to the FCA enforcement division. Shares ended down 4.7p at 72.3p.

While the FTSE rose, sterling was left in the doldrums.

The pound was broadly flat against the dollar at 1.354 and down marginally versus the euro at 1.134.

In Europe, the French CAC ended down 0.07% and the DAX fell 0.17%.

Oil was down marginally on the day at 77 US dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were ITV up 11.65p to 172p, Rangold Resources up 216p to 5,890p, G4S up 9.9p to 270.4p and Anglo American up 59.2p to 1,859.4p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were DCC down 170p to 7,290p, Severn Trent down 44p to 1,976p, United Utilities down 14.8p to 766.4p and BT Group down 4.05p to 217p.