Pound rises as Rees-Mogg admits no-deal Brexit unlikely
The pound rebounded on Tuesday, supported by comments from Jacob Rees-Mogg indicating that a no-deal Brexit is off the table.
In an interview, the chairman of the European Research Group (ERG) said it was difficult to see the UK leaving the EU without a deal, leaving two choices: the Prime Minister’s deal or no Brexit.
The pound rose following his comments, before pulling back slightly.
By the end of the day, it was 0.44% higher against the euro at 1.171 and up 0.22% to 1.322 US dollars.
Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index, said: “We do know that the PM said she will only put her deal to Parliament if she thinks she can push it through. So the fact that Thursday is being lined up for the third meaningful vote indicates that she is optimistic. In the case that it does get accepted, we expect the pound to push ahead towards 1.34 US dollars.”
The stronger pound held back top-flight shares in London, but the FTSE 100 still managed to post a rise of 18.71 points, or 0.26%, to 7,196.29.
The British index lagged behind European peers, with the German Dax up 0.64% and the French Cac 0.89% higher.
Ocado led the FTSE 100, rising 51.5p to 1,307p, as the online grocer landed its fifth major overseas deal in less than 18 months after signing a technology partnership with Australian retail giant Coles Group.
At the other end of the index, Ferguson shares plunged by 370p to 4,800p as the plumbing supplier warned over slowing growth and said full-year profits will be at the lower end of market forecasts.
Fever-Tree posted a sharp rise in annual sales and profits, helped by gin drinking during the World Cup and last year’s royal wedding. Shares fizzed 158p higher to 2,700p.
Irn-Bru maker AG Barr also posted a year of rising sales as it shrugged off the sugar tax and a host of other challenges. Shares closed 18p higher at 795p.
Suit retailer Moss Bros slipped 0.95p to 23p, as it swung to a full-year loss.
Crest Nicholson shares were up 17.8p to 370.8p after it poached the boss of rival construction firm Galliford Try, which dropped 16.5p to close at 669.5p.
Domino’s Pizza revealed that it is preparing for change at the top of the takeaway chain as it considers a future without its chief executive and chairman amid an escalating row with franchisees.
Shares rose by 7.7p to 241p as the news emerged.
Meanwhile on the oil markets, prices were higher after Opec and its allies announced a joint ministerial monitor meeting next month in Saudi Arabia.
With supply cuts expected to remain in place, a barrel of Brent crude oil was trading at 67.84 US dollars, up 0.86%.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Ocado, up 51.5p to 1,307p, Just Eat up 27.8p to 753.8p, Evraz up 15.4p to 610.2p and Fresnillo up 22p to 872p.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Carnival down 351p to 3,800p, Ferguson down 370p to 4,800p, easyJet down 32p to 1,123p and Smurfit Kappa down 56p to 2,100p.