London stocks rise as Brexit uncertainty weighs on sterling

The FTSE 100 closed higher as the value of sterling continued to slide, nearing a three-month low, as Brexit talks hit another stumbling block.

London’s leading index jumped by 55.35 points to 7,296.95 at the close of trading.

The pound continued to slide in value for a second day, as the Government confirmed a key vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal would take place at the start of June, despite not reaching an agreement with Labour following cross-party talks.

Brexit supporters have suggested there is little possibility it will be any more successful than the three previous votes, weakening the currency.

The pound fell 0.31% to 1.287 versus the US dollar and 0.3% to 1.149 versus the euro.

The European markets showed initial weakness after a fall in US and German bond yields, but closed higher after reports of a softening on President Trump’s tariff plans.

German vehicle traders were buoyed by reports that the president has decided to delay the imposition of tariffs on auto imports by six months.

The German Dax jumped by 0.86% and the French CAC rose by 0.49%.

Kingfisher financials
Kingfisher financials

In stocks, B&Q owner Kingfisher slipped despite the DIY chain reporting a sales bounceback thanks to warm spring weather after Britain basked in a sun-soaked Easter weekend.

The group reported like-for-like sales growth of 2.8% for B&Q in the UK and Ireland for the three months to April 30, which marks a turnaround on recent trading.

Shares in the firm closed down 8.8p at 233p.

Shares in Clydesdale and Yorkshire bank owner CYBG rose after it cheered a “resilient” half-year performance despite market pressures and costs of its £1.7 billion takeover of Virgin Money.

CYBG – which was catapulted into sixth place in the lending market after its Virgin Money acquisition last October – said it swung to a £42 million profit for the six months to March 31, against losses of £95 million a year earlier.

Its shares were up 6.3p at 197.5p.

Holiday giant Tui rose despite the firm reporting widening losses for the half-year and a fall in summer bookings as Brexit uncertainty weighed on consumer confidence.

The FTSE 100 company reported an underlying loss of 301 million euros (£261 million) for the six-month period to March 2019, up from a 170 million euros (£148 million) loss in the same period last year.

Shares were up 14.4p at 819.6p.

Housebuilder Crest Nicholson rose in value after it insisted sales are proving “resilient” despite an uncertain outlook for homebuyer demand amid Brexit worries.

Shares in the firm closed up 3.6p at 369.3p.

The price of oil rose despite the International Energy Agency cutting its estimates for oil demand in 2019.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil increased by 1.4% to 71.94 US dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Auto Trader Group, up 21.8p at 591.4p, Compass Group, up 50p at 1,778.5p, DCC, up 166p at 6,886p, and Rightmove, up 12p at 561.1p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Kingfisher, down 8.8p at 233p, SSE, down 28p at 1,083p, DS Smith, down 7.5p at 330.6p, and Smurfit Kappa Group, down 34p at 2,167p.