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UK stock markets close at a record high

Cover of The Harriman Stock Market Almanac 2018 by Stephen Eckett UK stock markets climbed to new highs on the final day of trading for 2017.

Both the FTSE 100 index of leading blue chip companies and the FTSE 250 reached new records at the close of trading.

US stock markets have also hit new peaks over the year, helped in part by Donald Trump's sweeping tax reforms.

Stephen Eckett, author of the annual Harriman Stock Market Almanac, said: "All the dangers that were anticipated with a Trump administration haven't materialised."

The FTSE 100 finished up 7.6% at 7,687.77 compared with the last day of trading in 2016.
Meanwhile, the FTSE 250 ended 14.7% ahead at 20,726.26 compared with the end of last year.
Mr Eckett said: "It has been a little bit of a surprise to many people that markets were are strong as they were this year."

George Salmon, an equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the FTSE 100 had been lifted by natural resource giants such as Shell and BP which have benefitted from a rise in oil prices.

Brent crude fell as low as $45 per barrel in June but is now trading at $66.34.

The fall in sterling since Brexit has also boosted earnings since many of the FTSE 100 companies have large operations abroad, said Linda Yueh, a professor of economics at London Business School.
" A lot of the rise in the FTSE 100 is because of the weak pound," she said.
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