FTSE 100 jumps but pound remains under Brexit pressure
The FTSE 100 racked up its highest points tally of the year on Tuesday as the pound came under selling pressure off the back of renewed Brexit fears.
London’s premier index closed the day up 73.74 points, or 1%, at 7,391.12, after having breached the 7,400 barrier for the first time in six months earlier in the session.
“Tuesday’s clear winner, the FTSE climbed more than 1%, spring-boarding off of the bent back of a Brexit-weary pound to hit 7,400 for the first time in six months.
“All its major sectors were in the green, including a tidy little showing from the banking stocks,” Connor Campbell, financial analyst at SpreadEx, said.
Hargreaves Lansdown and Standard Chartered were among the biggest risers, gaining 77p to 1,953.5p and 21p to 632.6p respectively.
On the FTSE 250, Provident Financial shares nudged down after suitor Non-Standard Finance said it has secured commitments representing just over half of shares in the doorstep lender for its £1.3 billion hostile takeover.
Non-Standard said it has acceptances for 50.7% of Provident’s shares, although this includes the previously announced support from Woodford Investment Management, Invesco Asset Management and Marathon Asset Management, who together hold a 49% stake in Provident.
But Provident, which owns Vanquis Bank and Moneybarn, insisted it is continuing to explore “all appropriate alternatives” to maximise value for shareholders.
Shares ended down 2.2p at 515.2p.
Superdry shares ended in the red after co-founder Julian Dunkerton won his long running battle to rejoin the company’s board, which triggered a mass exodus of current management.
Mr Dunkerton’s re-election scraped over the line with 51.15% of the total votes cast by shareholders on Tuesday.
He will now become interim chief executive and Boohoo’s Peter Williams will take the role of chairman.
Mr Dunkerton expressed his delight at the result, and vowed to “set Superdry back on the path to growth and success”.
Shares in the fashion chain closed down 48p, or 9%, at 500p.
The pound, meanwhile, continued its downward trajectory after MPs failed on Monday night to agree an alternative to Theresa May’s widely ridiculed Brexit deal.
Sterling was down 0.2% versus the US dollar at 1.303 at the London market close, and shed around 0.1% against the euro at 1.164.
David Madden, market analyst at CMC, said: “Traders are fearful of the political situation in the UK. Last night, MPs voted against four proposals which could have potentially broken the Brexit deadlock, and now the situation still stands that the UK is set to leave the EU without a deal in 10 days, unless something is agreed upon between and then.”
In Europe, Germany’s DAX was up 0.64% while France’s CAC 40 traded 0.21% higher.
A barrel of Brent crude was changing hands for 69 US dollars, broadly flat on the day.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were NMC Health up 98p at 2,439p, Hargreaves Lansdown up 77p at 1,953.5p, Standard Chartered up 21p at 632.6p and Smurfit Kappa up 74p at 2,244p.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Hikma down 28p at 1,811p, Rolls Royce down 10.2p at 907p, Reckitt Benckiser down 62p at 6,408p and Evraz down 3.6p at 636.4p