LONDON Oct 7 Britain's top shares index
advanced early on Friday to trade near a record high, with
concerns about a further fall in the sterling after a plunge to
a 31-year low seen as helping internationally-exposed stocks.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.4 percent at
7,030.30 points by 0712 GMT, less than 100 points away from its
life-time high set in April last year. The index is up nearly 2
percent so far this week after falling in the previous week.
The mid-cap FTSE 250 index, dominated by more
domestically-focused companies, was up 0.1 percent.
The broader UK stock market got support after sterling
plunged to a new 31-year low, before recouping some of its
losses, with traders saying that the UK currency remained
vulnerable to renewed selling due to fears Britain will pursue a
so-called "hard" exit from the European Union.
The FTSE 100's international firms earn much of their
revenues in U.S. dollars, and a weaker pound helps exporters as
well. But the slump in sterling has also impacted the dollar
value of FTSE 100 stocks, a potential negative for overseas
investors for whom the dollar is the benchmark currency.
Diversified global miners were in demand, with the UK mining
index rising more than 2 percent. Shares in Anglo
American, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton
rose 1.8 to 3.3 percent.
(Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)