Sterling pushes higher against the euro as Britain triggers Article 50
Sterling pushed higher against the euro as Britain embarked on its historic exit from the European Union by triggering Article 50.
The pound lifted to 1.158 versus European currency, climbing from a rise of 0.2% to 0.6% by the time the Prime Minister had finished her address to Parliament.
However, the UK currency showed little movement against the US dollar in the immediate aftermath of the speech, remaining marginally lower at 1.245 US dollars.
The FTSE 100 Index was down 25.82 points at 7317.69 as it gave up morning gains driven by the pound's fall earlier in the session.
Jake Trask, currency analyst at OFX, said traders will be closely watching the EU's response for any signs as to how the exit talks might progress.
He said: "GBP/USD was unmoved as Theresa May confirmed to Parliament that the UK had served notice on EU membership by officially triggering Article 50.
"The speech gave little away that we didn't already know and was upbeat about the UK's prospects going forward.
"Interestingly, the Prime Minister's conciliatory tone appears to have affected the euro with EUR/USD dropping and GBP/EUR rising towards 1.16.
"It appears that the ball is now in the EU's court, and any response we get from the European Commission will be closely monitored for clues over how they intend to start the secession talks."