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FTSE 100 surges to a fresh record high



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(Close): The FTSE 100 has set an all-time high for the second consecutive trading day in a row, boosted by a strong rise in mining shares.

The index closed up 15.16 points, or 0.22%, at 7,037.67 to mark a fresh record close following Friday's high.

The FTSE has been boosted by official comments suggesting UK and US interest rate rises will be later than expected.

Stronger metal prices helped to lift mining stocks, with BHP Billiton jumping 3.4% and Glencore adding 2.6%.

Standard Chartered was the top performer in the FTSE 100, adding 7% thanks to a positive broker note.

The sharp jump came after JP Morgan upgraded its rating on the bank's shares to "overweight" from "neutral".

A JP Morgan note was also behind the FTSE 100's biggest faller Burberry. The designer's shares sank 2.6% after the broker cut its overall rating on the luxury good sector to "neutral" from "overweight".

Engineering firm Meggitt was another company to fall foul of a broker downgrade. Its shares dropped 1.8% after Bernstein lowered its rating to "market perform" from "outperform".

And shares in car spares and bike retailer Halfords fell 0.3% after it appointed a top executive from McDonald's, Jill McDonald, as its new chief executive. Ms McDonald will replace Matt Davies, who is leaving Halfords to head Tesco's UK business.

Worries over the general election outcome and the prospects for UK rate moves also hit the value of the pound.

Sterling dropped 1% against the euro to €1.3683, while against the dollar the pound fell 0.2% to $1.4930.