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Weaker pound helps FTSE 100 toward new record

London’s FTSE 100′s inverse relationship with sterling is continuing to set the pace for UK stocks, helping the index outperform its continental European peers even without the support of its heavily-weighted mining sector.

The pound’s slip on the latest sign of a faltering Tory lead in the opinion polls ahead of the general election has given the blue-chip index more momentum. Its 0.3 per cent rise takes it to 7,547.40 and back within a whisker of the 7,554.21 closing record it set last Friday.

The pound’s plight is good news for the FTSE’s set of multinational companies that book revenue in foreign currency and report earnings in sterling. Drugmakers are standing out, with Reckitt Benckiser and Shire both up 1.1 per cent. British American Tobacco is also up over 1 per cent and Vodafone is 0.8 per cent stronger.

The overall gain comes even as the heavily-weighted mining sector falters, hit by a six -month low for iron ore prices in China.

Glencore, the miner and commodities trader, is this morning the biggest single faller on the FTSE 100, down 1.8 per cent, and there are three other resource stocks in the list of the top 10 biggest fallers.