Europe opens lower
London's main benchmark closed at an all-time high for the second day in a row

Blue chip shares ended the week on the front foot, closing at an all-time high for the second day in a row.

The FTSE 100 ended the day up by nine points to 7,424.96, although that is just short of the record intra-day high of 7,444.62 hit the day before (16 March). The FTSE 250 was also up 68 points at 19095.

Traders said sentiment remained in positive territory after yesterday's interest rate rise in the US and a win for moderate parties in the Dutch elections.

IG chief market analyst Chris Beauchamp said: "Equities remain buoyant, even if they have failed to move much higher in the two days since the US Federal Reserve meeting."

In the top flight, taxpayer-owned royal Bank of Scotland was 3.3p higher at 244p, after upbeat comments from analysts at Natixis.

However, explorer Tullow Oil slumped almost 15%, or 35p to 202.3p, after it said it had raised £607m through the share sale in order to cut its debt.

In the second tier, housebuilder Berkeley Group was the biggest climbing 6%, or 181p to 3144p, after it said its full-year profits were set to be at the top end of forecasts.

The company added that the housing market in London and the south-east had now "stabilised" since the post-Brexit vote fall in sales.