U.K. stocks ended at a record Thursday, with mining shares invigorated by a pullback in the dollar and a major investment in Anglo American Plc, while the pound surged on a hawkish development on interest rates at the Bank of England.
The FTSE 100 UKX, +0.64% climbed 0.6% to close at 7,415.95, surpassing its previous record closing high of 7,382.90 logged March 1. The index on Wednesday finished up by 0.2%.
The fresh all-time high on Thursday was supported by a jump in the basic-materials and oil-and-gas groups. Those sectors maintain a 20% weighting on the British benchmark, according to FactSet data.
Anglo American PLC AAL, +8.62% topped the gauge as its shares jumped 8.6%. The surge came after billionaire Anil Agarwal’s family trust, Volcan Investments Ltd., said it would buy a 12% stake in the producer of iron ore, copper and other metals. The purchase makes Volcan the second-biggest investor in Anglo American.
BOE rate call: The FTSE 100 slightly pared gains midday as the pound jumped above $1.23 for the first time since early March. That surge came after the Bank of England voted to hold the benchmark rate at 0.25% by 8-1, with board member Kristen Forbes favoring a rate hike. U.K. inflation looks set to rise above 2% in the “next few months,” the bank said.
“Even with inflation expected to breach the central bank’s 2% target this year and unemployment at its lowest since the 1970s, the bank is keen to keep rates low ahead of Article 50 and two years of uncertain Brexit negotiations,” said Tom Stevenson, investment director for personal investing at Fidelity International, in a note.
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