Pound Rises on Hopes of Brexit Progress

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.

G4S Slides as FTSE 100 Tumbles

G4S Slides as FTSE 100 Tumbles
Security group G4S was the biggest faller on the FTSE 100 in early Wednesday trading despite reporting a 7.6% rise in first-half profit. The firm saw its shares slide 3.7% after chief executive Ashley Almanza said it would sell off more underperforming assets this year.

Overall, the 100-share index was down 42.11 points or 0.56% at 7,500.62.

Meanwhile, the pound rose 0.13% against the dollar to $1.3010 and was up 0.14% against the euro to 1.1070 euros. Among the top gainers was payment processing firm Worldpay, which added 0.6% after agreeing to merge with US rival Vantiv.

Biggest winners were mining firms Randgold Resources and Fresnillo, which gained 1.7% and 1.4% respectively.

On Tuesday, the FTSE 100 narrowly failed to hit a record closing high after a late rally stalled just short of the magic mark.

Barclays Pulls FTSE 100 Lower

Barclays Pulls FTSE 100 Lower
Shares in Barclays were the biggest fallers on the FTSE 100, despite the bank reporting a doubling of quarterly profits. Pre-tax profit for the first three months of the year jumped to £1.682bn, from £793m a year earlier. But analysts were disappointed by the performance of Barclays’ investment bank, and the shares fell 5%.

Shortly before midday, the FTSE 100 index was down 19.80 points, or 0.3%, at 7,217.57. Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland were having a better day, rising 1.7%, after it reported its first quarterly profit since third quarter of 2015.

RBS posted profits of £259m in the first three months of 2017, compared with a £968m loss a year earlier.

Rising copper prices boosted shares in mining companies, with Antofagasta, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto all up by more than 2%.

In the FTSE 250, shares in transport group Stagecoach fell 3.25% after HSBC cut its rating on the company to “reduce” from “hold”.

On the currency markets, the pound shrugged off weaker-than-forecast UK growth data. The UK grew by 0.3% in the first quarter of the year, according to an initial estimate, a sharper-than-expected slowdown from the 0.7% rate seen at the end of 2016. Despite this, the pound continued to rally against the US dollar, hitting a fresh seven-month high of $1.2951 at one point.

However, sterling was lower against the euro, down 0.3% at 1.1837 euros. The euro was boosted by the latest set of eurozone inflation figures, which indicated that inflation in the 19-nation bloc rose to 1.9% in April.

FTSE 100 Rises as Mining Stocks Climb

FTSE 100 Rises as Mining Stocks Climb
London’s main share index enjoyed a strong start to the day, as commodity-related stocks were lifted by rising oil prices.

In early trade the FTSE 100 index rose 55.48 points, or 0.9%, to 6,241.09. The biggest risers were mostly mining companies, with Glencore up 2.5% and Anglo American 2% higher.

BP rose 2.2% as price of oil climbed back above the $50-a-barrel mark. Prices rose despite Opec failing to agree an output cap on Thursday. BP has also announced that it will pay $175m (£121m) to settle a claim from shareholders that the oil giant had misled them over the magnitude of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Shares in Marks and Spencer fell 1.7% after JP Morgan cut its rating on the retailer to “underweight” from “neutral”.

On the currency markets, the pound edged up 0.1% against the dollar to $1.4437, and was also 0.1% higher against the euro at €1.2944.

FTSE 100 Edges Higher

FTSE 100 Edges Higher
The London market edged higher at the start of trade, but shares in the Daily Mail’s parent company slid after it reported lower profits. The FTSE 100 index was up 7.57 points at 6,270.42, with mining companies among the biggest risers.
Shares in Daily Mail and General Trust fell 8% after the company reported an 11% fall in half-year profits to £129m. Print advertising fell 13%, outstripping increases in digital advertising revenues.
On the currency markets, the pound rose 0.2% against the dollar to $1.4720, and edged up 0.1% against the euro to €1.3191.

FTSE 100 Follows Global Markets

FTSE 100 Follows Global Markets Lower
The London market opened lower, tracking losses seen in US and Asian markets overnight. The FTSE 100 was down 22.13 points or 0.4%, at 6,145.64, with mining shares among the biggest fallers.

Fashion group Burberry slid 4.3% to 1094p after it reported a fall in full-year profits and said profits this year would be at the low end of forecasts.
Burberry said it expected “the challenging environment for the luxury sector to continue in the near term”.

On the currency markets, the pound fell 0.2% against the dollar to $1.4439, but rose 0.3% against the euro to €1.2826.

FTSE 100 Falls as Oil Shares Dive

FTSE 100 Falls as Oil Shares Dive
Falling oil prices weighed on the London market as trading got under way for the week. The FTSE 100 index was down 41.36 points, or 0.65%, at 6,302.39, with shares in oil companies among the biggest fallers.

Shares in BP dropped 2.4% and Royal Dutch Shell fell 3% after oil producers failed to agree an output freeze at their meeting at the weekend.

The price of Brent crude was down nearly $2, or 4.6%, at $41.13 a barrel.

Other commodity-related shares were also down, In the mining sector, Antofagasta fell 3.1% and Anglo American dropped 2.9%. On the currency markets, the pound fell 0.3% against the dollar to $1.4162, and dropped 0.5% against the euro to €1.2532.

FTSE 100 Continues to Lose Ground

FTSE 100 Continues to Lose Ground
The FTSE 100 index was down 31.10 points at 6,649.45.

Among the FTSE 100 firms going ex-dividend, Severn Trent fell 3.5% and 3i Group was also down 3.5%.

In the FTSE 250, Poundland shares were hit after it reported slowing sales growth. Its shares were down 5% at one point, before regaining some ground.

Sales on a constant currency basis grew 4.1% in the 11 weeks to 14 June, slowing from a 7.1% growth rate in the fourth quarter of the 2014-15 year.

The sales slowdown overshadowed news of a rise in full-year profits, with underlying profits climbing 18.6% to £43.7m.

On the currency markets, the pound rose 0.41% against the dollar to $1.5898, but slipped 0.06% against the euro to €1.3956.

FTSE Opens Higher but Jitters Remain

FTSE Opens Higher but Jitters Remain
Shares in London recovered some of their losses at the open after the worst session in more than a year wiped £46bn off the FTSE 100 on Wednesday.

The blue chip index has opened up 1% or about 60 points higher to 6278.38. But traders warned there was no change in the uncertain mood after the City was the FTSE slumped 2.8% or 181 points to 6,211.64 yesterday. Poor US economic data and fears over Greece’s bailout plans have added to jitters.

Weaker economic sentiment in Germany has also added to concerns the eurozone could be heading for its third crisis since 2009.

US retail sales for September fell 0.3% on the previous month and other key data on manufacturing cemented a gloomy picture, prompting steep falls on Wall Street.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said the end of monetary stimulus in the United States had provided a reality check for markets.

He said: “As the monetary morphine has started to wear off the patient has come to realise that a lot of the old problems still remain, and yesterday’s poor US data helped trigger a rather extreme reaction in not only the stock markets but bond markets too, as complacent investors rushed to hedge themselves. “In essence, investors are asking the question with respect to the recent recovery about whether this is as good as it gets, which rather explains the slump in the oil price, bond yields and stock markets.”

Shire Pharmaceuticals was the biggest loser on the FTSE 100 early on, down a further 11.4% to 3555p, after US rival AbbVie confirmed it had recommended to its shareholders that they vote against the proposed takeover deal of the UK drugs company, following proposed changes to the US tax regime.