FTSE slips as traders remain cautious before key Brexit vote
The London markets and the pound both slipped into the red as traders remained cautious ahead of Saturday’s Brexit vote.
The FTSE 100 closed 31.75 points lower at 7,150.57 at the end of trading on Friday.
David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “When it comes to tomorrow’s all-important Brexit deal vote, traders are curtailing their positions as the vote is tipped to go down to the wire.
“The bullish mood that we saw during the week on the build up to the deal being brokered and announced, has now been replaced with a more cautious outlook.”
The lack of optimism dented sterling, halting its recent rebound slightly, to push it down against both the dollar and euro.
The pound was down 0.02% versus the US dollar at 1.288, and down 0.19% against the euro at 1.156.
Mr Madden added: “The pound saw major volatility this week on account of the Brexit goings on, but on Friday the mood was much more muted.
“Many dealers are playing the wait-and-see game as all eyes will be on Westminster.”
The European markets also drifted on the back of pessimistic statements by Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank.
Mr Draghi said there are some “mild signs of overvaluations in the euro area”, weakening sentiment in European equity markets.
The German Dax decreased by 0.17% while the French Cac moved 0.65% lower.
Across the Atlantic, the Dow Jones opened slightly lower on an unusually quiet day for macro-economic news as traders held out for more information on US-China trade discussions.
In company news, the London Stock Exchange closed higher after its finance chief announced plans to retire once the planned 27 billion US dollar (£20.9 billion) takeover of data group Refinitiv is complete.
David Warren, who joined from US tech stock exchange Nasdaq in 2012, said he will stand down next year and the board has begun a search for his successor.
Shares in the business rose by 58p to 7,102p at the end of trading.
Intercontinental Hotels Group was the FTSE 100’s biggest loser, sliding after it said third quarter sales were hit by political unrest in Hong Kong.
The Holiday Inn owner said revenue per available room slumped by 0.8% in the three months to September.
Shares in the company, which also runs the Crowne Plaza brand, fell 217p to 4,520p.
In a busy day for the hotel sector, competitor EasyHotel saw shares jump after it delivered a surge in annual revenues despite a “challenging second half to the year”.
Shares in the business closed 11p higher at 110p at the close of play.
Logistics firm Wincanton saw shares rise after it emerged as the latest possible bidder for haulage company Eddie Stobart Logistics. Company shares closed 4p higher at 238p.
The price of oil has dipped after the Chinese refinery throughput report which showed a 9% increase in supplies for September.
The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil decreased by 0.79% to 59.4 US dollars.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Royal Bank of Scotland, up 6.1p at 238.3p, Aveva Group, up 68p at 3,924p, ITV, up 2.35p at 137.4p, and Segro, up 12.6p at 835p.
The biggest fallers on the index were Intercontinental Hotels, down 217p at 4,520p, Evraz, down 18p at 375.2p, Relx, down 45.5p at 1,739.5p, and Rolls-Royce, down 18p at 711.6p.