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FTSE 100 up 48.8 points due to strong data

Strong economic data on both sides of the Atlantic drove the FTSE 100 Index higher and ensured new record levels for Wall Street markets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average topped 17,000 for the first time after a closely-watched jobs report jumped by 288,000 in June, more than had been expected. The news also sent the S&P 500 to a record high, though US markets will be forced to pause tomorrow due to the July 4 holiday.

The figures extended a recent run of positive economic news in the US and UK, helping the FTSE 100 Index climb 48.8 points to 6865.2.

The all-time record close of 6930 set in December 1999 is now back in sight as the top flight continues its recovery following a disappointing June.

The pound remained near its six-year high against the US dollar.

With the reading still well above the measure of 50 which indicates expansion, the pound held firm at 1.71 against the US dollar and was slightly higher at 1.26 versus the euro after European Central Bank president Mario Draghi said eurozone interest rates will remain unchanged at 0.1 per cent for an "extended period" of time.

In London stronger demand, as indicated by recent economic updates, helped mining stocks post strong gains in the FTSE 100 Index. Antofagasta set the pace with a rise of 38.5p to 820p, while Anglo American was 40p higher at 1525p.

Other big movers included mobile phone giant Vodafone, which rose 2p to 196.6p, and Barclays with a gain of 2.3p to 219.4p.

In the FTSE 250 Index, Poundland was four per cent higher after issuing better-than-expected full-year results. Underlying pre-tax profits rose 23.5 per cent to a £36.8 million and first quarter sales rose 18 per cent.

Shares, which have fallen since the company's stock market flotation earlier this year, surged by 13.2p to 341.9p as Poundland set out plans for 60 new outlets.

In contrast, shares in Balfour Beatty fell almost five per cent - off 10.5p to 222.5p - after a further deterioration in the performance of its mechanical and electrical engineering operation in the UK.

It has uncovered a further £35 million shortfall in profits at the division, although trading in the rest of the company is in line with expectations.

Shares in pub chain Greene King were almost four per cent lower after it reported a slowdown in sales over the first eight weeks of its new financial year, having seen a rise of 4.1 per cent in the previous year.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Sports Direct International up 41p at 769p, Antofagasta up 38.5p at 820p, Imperial Tobacco up 99p at 2698p and Fresnillo up 29p at 933.5p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Coca-Cola HBC down 17p at 1336p, Royal Dutch Shell down 26p at 2404p Land Securities down 9p at 1049p and BP down 2.9p at 516.9p.

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