London's FTSE 100 surges to all-time closing high for third day running
London's top-flight index surged to an all-time high and recorded its best year since 2013 after riding out a turbulent 12 months thanks to a boost from the Brexit-hit pound.
The FTSE 100 smashed its mid-session record and set a new all-time closing high by rising 22.57 points to 7,142.83.
The late surge saw the UK's premier index break above the mid-session record of 7129.83 recorded on October 11 and record a fresh closing high for the third day running.
It came as London emerged as the best performer out of the major European stock markets this year, finishing 2016 more than 14% higher despite Britain's voted to leave the European Union on June 23.
The pound's fall, triggered by Britain's decision to quit the EU, has proved beneficial for multinational companies listed on the index as many tend to benefit from earnings in currencies - such as the US dollar - which are stronger than sterling.
On Friday, sterling slumped further against the euro, falling 0.1% to 1.16 euro. The pound was up 0.5% against the dollar at 1.23.
Sterling remains 18% down against the greenback and 11% lower versus the euro since the Brexit vote in June.
The London market was on the back foot at the start of 2016, dragged down by concerns over slowing growth in China and a lack lustre performance from blue-chip mining stocks.
But while global turbulence remained a key factor in the market swings of 2016, the lion's share of the jitters came from tectonic shifts in Britain's political landscape.
After pricing in Britain to remain in the EU, the top-flight issued a sharp correction on June 24, as the Brexit vote and the resignation of prime minister David Cameron unleashed a tsunami of political uncertainty that rocked European markets.
The FTSE 100 Index eventually closed down 199.41 points to 6138.69 on June 24, recovering from a 7% plunge earlier in the session.
However, the market would mount a recovery in the months ahead as sterling's slump in the wake of the Brexit vote would prove a boon for London-listed multinational companies, helping it reach a new mid-session record of 7,129.83 on October 11.
In a similar vein to Brexit, markets were forced to administer sharp corrections for the US election after pricing in the opposite outcome - a triumph for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
It saw the FTSE 100 Index close up 1% at 6911.84 on November 9 after losing more than 140 points at the start of the session.
However, the so-called Trump slump quickly transformed into a Trump bump, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting a record high on November 11 and helping the FTSE rally to fresh closing highs in December after investors took their cues from the US.
The FTSE 250 finished 2016 in the black, rising 47.77 points to 18,077.27.
It means the second tier, which is made up of UK manufacturers, retailers and service sector firms and deemed a better gauge for the UK economy, was more than 3% higher than last year.
Across Europe, Germany's Dax and the Cac 40 in France were up 0.3% on Friday.
The price of oil eased back - down 0.4% at 56.61 US dollars a barrel - but remained on track for its biggest yearly gain since 2009.
Brent crude slumped below 30 US dollars a barrel in January 2016, but has clocked up hefty gains following the Opec cartel's landmark deal in November to support prices by cutting production.
The cartel agreed to reduce production by around 1.2 million barrels a day to a total production of 32.5 million barrels a day from the start of next year.