There were further gains on global markets overnight, as the focus shifted from Iraq to an improving US economy.
In the US, data showed Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity soaring in June to the highest reading since last September.
Initial jobless claims also fell from the previous week, brightening the outlook for US jobs growth.
The data was enough to propel the S&P500 to a new record high, whilst in Europe, equities found strength from Janet Yellen’s comments the night before that US interest rates were unlikely to rise anytime soon.
In commodity markets, all the attention was on gold, which surged almost four percent to its highest level since mid-April.
Renewed support for the precious metal has come from tensions in Iraq and Yellen’s surprisingly dovish comments following the June Fed meeting this week.
Elsewhere, oil continued its upward momentum after President Obama indicated he may launch military strikes in Iraq, stoking concerns that militants may retaliate by damaging oil refineries.
The pound was a key mover in currency markets, topping 1.70 US for the first time since October 2008 as traders position for an imminent UK rate hike.