The FTSE 100 Index of leading UK-listed companies has rallied to a new record high, topping the 7,600 mark for the first time.
It climbed by nearly 80 points in its last full trading session before Christmas, adding about £20bn to the combined value of its constituent companies.
London’s top-flight index rose to just under 7,610 during the session before ending the day slightly lower at 7604.
It means that as the year draws to a close the FTSE is nearly 500 points higher than its level at the end of 2016.
The index has been helped by the weakness of the pound – which means the dollar and euro earnings of its global constituents are worth more when translated back into sterling.
The latest rise takes it past the previous record seen in June, when it reached an intraday level just shy of the 7600 mark.
Other global markets were also ahead in the wake of solid US economic growth data and as investors digested the recent passage of a $1.5tn tax cut plan in Washington.
But London’s “Santa rally” eclipsed gains seen elsewhere.
Share rises for oil heavyweights Royal Dutch Shell and BP as well as commodities giants Glencore and BHP Billiton helped drive the FTSE higher.
Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at Forex.com, said: “Everyone was expecting a Santa rally and because of that they’re not selling: it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“The lack of any significantly bearish news is keeping the bull run intact.”
The strong run this year for the FTSE 100 reflects global conditions affecting its internationally-focused businesses rather than the underlying health of the UK economy.
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