Gold powers miners to send the FTSE 100 to a new high
Precious metals miners sent the FTSE 100 index of leading shares to a fresh high on Thursday, powered by a rise in gold prices.
In a continuation of December's Santa rally, blue chip stocks rose by 14.18 points to close at a record 7,120.26.
Randgold Resources and Fresnillo led the FTSE 100 climbers for a second day, each rising by more than 4%.
Stocks were lifted by gold prices which grew 1.5% to $1,158.1 an ounce.
Investors boosted gold as the yield on 10-year US bonds fell while the dollar fell to a 15-day low against the yen. Sterling rose against the dollar at $1.2250.
Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior market analyst at London Capital Group, said: "The dollar fall was mostly due to renewed doubts about the US recovery after pending home sales dropped in November."
Recent data revealed that US pending home sales fell by 2.5% in November, compared to economists' expectations of a 0.5% rise.
Ashtead Group was the day's biggest faller in London, down 2.3%.
Industrial equipment hire company Ashtead is traditionally a strong performer in December, according to the Harriman Stock Market Almanac, and over the month its share price is still up by 4%.
Smiths Group, another industrial stock, was also one of the biggest fallers, losing 1.67%.