Trump impeachment fails to excite the markets

The impeachment of a US president should be the kind of news that sends markets into a panic.

But Donald Trump is no ordinary president, so, most traders simply shrugged and carried on, focusing instead on the hopes for next year that the US-China trade deal will come good.

As a result, the FTSE 100 closed up 33.07 points, or 0.4%, at 7,573.82. In Paris the Cac 40 was also up by 0.2% and the German Dax 30 down 0.1%.

Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG, said: “Stock markets are primarily in the green, as tentative optimism continues to help drive equities higher in response to recent breakthroughs in the UK and US.

“Comments from Steve Mnuchin point towards the US-China deal being signed in early-January, ensuring that we should have a key driver of market gains play out throughout the festive period.”

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “Stock markets are a mixed bag heading into the close as the lacklustre mood has left indices directionless.

“Now that the dust has settled from the UK general election, and the US-China trade deal, dealers don’t know which way to look.

“Between now and Christmas there isn’t much on the horizon in terms of macroeconomic news, so it is possible that equity benchmarks will continue to trade sideways.”

The pound continued to sink against the dollar since Prime Minister Boris Johnson said legislation would be passed to block any future extensions to the transition period after Brexit.

A pound was down 0.36% at 1.303 dollars. It was also down against the euro by 0.44% at 1.172 euro.

In company news, the battle for the future of Just Eat ramped up as suitors from and Prosus both upped their bids for the online takeaway platform. Shares in Just Eat closed up 10p, or 1.25% at 812.6p.

The Just Eat app
The Just Eat app

Several retailers saw a boost in their share price following the Queen’s Speech where the Government confirmed they would introduce reforms to business rates.

Watches of Switzerland was up 25.2p, or 7.86%, at 346p. Frasers Group – formerly Sports Direct – was up 23.8p, or 5.3% at 473p. And B&Q owner Kingfisher also jumped 4.5p, or 2.1%, to 219.9p.

Royal Bank of Scotland announced two top bosses of its investment banking arm would step down amid a shake-up of the struggling division.

RBS said NatWest Markets chief executive Chris Marks and chief financial officer Richard Place have quit, but will stay on to ensure an “orderly transition” until June and March next year respectively. Shares closed down 0.5% or 1.3p at 247.4p.

PayPoint also announced executive changes, with chief executive Patrick Headon stepping down from the business with immediate effect due to illness.

The company said Nick Wiles, its chairman, will continue to serve as executive chairman until a replacement is appointed. Shares closed up 4p at 1,012p.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Glencore, up 5.45p to 239.65p, Kingfisher, up 4.5p to 219.90p, Astrazeneca, up 154p to 7,634.00p, Flutter Entertainment, up 182p to 9,100.00p, and Scottish Mortgage, up 10.5p to 558.50p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were NMC Healthcare, down 192.5p to 1,536.50p, Pearson, down 40p to 615.00p, Hargreaves Lansdown, down 64.5p to 1,958.50p, TUI, down 29.6p to 948.20p, and Burberry, down 37p to 2,151.00p.