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The UK’s two main equity indices both hit record highs on Wednesday afternoon, as a weaker pound and rising commodities prices boosted stock markets around Europe.

The FTSE 100, which started the day with a slight rise, accelerated its gains throughout the day as the pound fell to a six-week low.

At publication time the benchmark index was up 1.33 per cent, to 7359.76, having hit a high of 7360.15. The FTSE 100 hit a series of record highs during its record-breaking 14-day run of gains earlier this year, but fell back after sterling recovered some of its earlier losses.

The index has closely tracked the pound in recent months, tending to rise when the currency falls and vice versa. It is dominated by multinational companies, which benefit from a weaker pound that makes their exports more competitive and increases the relative value of their foreign earnings.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 index also hit a fresh record high. The index was up 0.8 per cent at publication time, having hit a high of 18,922.

Although the mid-cap index is made up of more UK-focused companies, optimism about tax cuts and growth in the US has boosted riskier investments like stocks across Europe today.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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