German election hangover weighs on currency markets
The euro’s weakness helped push up the pound.
The pound pushed higher against the euro as the continental currency suffered a hangover from the weekend’s German general election.
Sterling was up 0.5% versus the euro at 1.135 thanks to its currency peer’s weakness in afternoon trading. In contrast, the pound was trading 0.4% lower against the US dollar at 1.344.
The FTSE 100, meanwhile, ended the day down 0.13%, or 9.35 points, at 7,301.29.
Global markets were reacting to Sunday’s German general election, which left Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc in a less powerful position while the country’s Eurosceptic and anti-migrant party AfD gained ground.
David Madden, a market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “The general election has muddied the waters in terms of political outlook and it is unlikely we will know what sort of coalition could be formed in the near term.
“A lack of strong political leadership at the biggest country in the eurozone is weighing on the single currency.”
The euro was also hit by weaker-than-expected results from the latest German business climate index as well as comments from European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi, who said that while inflation is likely to pick up, the eurozone is still in need of stimulus measures.
Currency markets were little affected by warnings from the Bank of England that UK banks are “underestimating” the risks of growing household debt.
The Financial Policy Committee (FPC) said that commercial banks are collectively exposed to potential losses of about £30 billion, which is £10 billion more than previously outlined.
Brent crude prices jumped 2.7% to their highest level in 2017 at 58.31 US dollars (£43.35) per barrel as investors held out hope Opec and other major oil producers would extend oil production cut plans.
In UK stocks, BP climbed 5.8p to 472.4p after the oil major announced it was launching production at a gas extraction site in Oman, marking its largest project so far this year.
Unilever edged higher by 5p to 4,269p in the wake of news it had struck a 2.27 billion euro (£1.9 billion) deal to buy South Korean cosmetics firm Carver Korea from Bain Capital Private Equity, Goldman Sachs and the firm’s founder, strengthening its foothold in the Asian beauty market.
EasyJet shares dropped 11p to 1,180p. Air Berlin confirmed on Monday that talks with the low-cost carrier would continue until October 12 after easyJet submitted an offer to take over some of the bankrupt airline’s fleet.
Imagination Technologies soared 36.5p to 165p after the British chipmaker was bought by US fund Canyon Bridge Capital Partners in a deal worth £550 million.
It helped recover some of the stock’s losses, having plunged more than 60% in April after it revealed US tech giant Apple would no longer use its products, meaning it would no longer be eligible for royalty payments.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Convatec Group up 4p to 271p, BT Group up 4.15p to 286.95p, ITV up 2.4p to 168.7p and Land Securities up 13.5p to 976p.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Mediclinic International down 35p to 645.5p, Antofagasta down 31.5p to 908p, Anglo American down 44.5p to 1,288.5p and RSA Insurance Group down 15.5p to 619p.