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FTSE 100 closes at record high



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(Close): The FTSE 100 closed at a record closing high, helped by rising shares in housebuilders and by a boost for drug firm Shire.

The FTSE 100 was up 74.41 at 7089.77, ahead of its previous record closing high of 7,037.67 reached last month.

Shares in Shire rose 4.8% after the US regulators granted a priority review to the firm's dry-eye disease treatment.

Housebuilders were boosted by upbeat comments from broker Jefferies.

Shares in Barratt Developments rose 3.1% after Jefferies raised its rating on the firm to "hold" from "underperform", while Taylor Wimpey climbed 3% after its rating was raised to "buy" from "hold".

Majestic Wine shares rose 1.7% after it announced it was buying online rival Naked Wines.

The move will also see Naked Wines founder, Rowan Gormley, taking over as chief executive of the overall company. Majestic's previous chief executive, Steve Lewis, left the post in February.

On the currency markets, the pound fell to a near five-year low against the dollar following the release of weaker-than-expected industrial output figures.

UK industrial output rose by just 0.1% in February from the month before, suggesting that growth in the economy has slowed in the first quarter of the year.

The pound fell 0.44% against the dollar to $1.4648, but was up 0.1$ against the euro at €1.3821.