Pound Rises on Hopes of Brexit Progress
The value of the pound continued to climb on Thursday as hopes rose of progress in the Brexit negotiations. Sterling hit a two-month dollar high on Wednesday on reports the UK had offered to pay up to €50bn to settle its EU “divorce bill”.
The Times also reported on Thursday that the UK was close to a deal concerning the border with Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The pound was up more than half a cent against the dollar at $1.3467. Against the euro, sterling also rose 0.4% to €1.1363. On the stock market, the benchmark FTSE 100 share index was down 25.06 points at 7,368.50.
Shares in Aviva rose 2.6% after the insurer increased its targets for growth and dividend payouts.
Outside the FTSE 100, shares in the owner of the Daily Mail newspaper – Daily Mail and General Trust – plunged by a quarter after the publisher reported a full-year loss and gave a downbeat outlook for next year.
The company reported a loss of £112m after writing down the value of some of its businesses by more than £200m, and added that expected earnings in the short-term to be “adversely affected by recent disposals and challenging conditions in some of our sectors”.
Pub operator Marston’s saw its shares jump nearly 10% after it reported a rise in full-year profits and said it was “well positioned” for growth next year.
But results from rival Greene King fell flat by contrast. Its shares dropped 2.8% after the brewer and pub owner reported an 8% fall in half-year profits and said trading conditions were likely to “toughen” in the next few years.