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FTSE 100 Index

Last Updated at 17 Apr 2014, 11:36 ET *Chart shows local time FTSE 100 intraday chart
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(Close): The pound hit its highest level in more than four years against the US dollar on Thursday.

Strong UK jobs and wages data released on Wednesday had boosted sterling, as expectations increased that UK interest rates will rise early next year.

In addition, comments from US Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen that low US rates are needed to support the economy weakened the dollar.

The pound hit $1.6842 at one point, its highest level since late 2009.

It then fell back, and was trading at $1.6809 in afternoon trade. Against the euro, the pound was down slightly at 1.2150 euros.

On the stock market, the benchmark FTSE 100 index closed up 41.08 points or 0.62% at 6,625.25.

Diageo shares fell 3.7% after the drinks group reported a drop in third-quarter sales.

Sales fell 1.3% in the quarter and sank 19% in the Asia Pacific region. Sales of spirits in Asia have been hit by a crackdown on gift-giving by the Chinese government.

RSA Insurance rose 2.3% after it raised £300m through the sale of operations in the Baltics and Poland.

The sale is part of the strategy from the firm's new chief executive, Stephen Hester, to bolster the company's finances.

Shares in luxury goods maker Mulberry fell 1.1% after the company issued its second profit warning of the year.

Mulberry said full-year profits were set to be about £14m, against forecasts of £19m, and also announced it would introduce new "more affordable" products.

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