Pound battered amid Brexit uncertainty as talks continue
The FTSE 100 closed at 7,271.
The pound was in the doldrums on Wednesday as Brexit uncertainty continued to plague the currency.
Sterling lost ground against the euro, falling 0.56% to 1.161, and was down 0.44% versus the dollar at 1.301.
David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “Sterling has come under pressure again as the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, and the lack of clarity in regards to the situation has chipped away at investors’ confidence in the pound.
“It was confirmed that the talks between the Conservative Party and the Labour Party will continue today, but traders aren’t holding out much hope.”
Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 inched up by 10.5 points, or 0.15%, to 7,271.
In Europe, the German Dax was up 0.72% and the French Cac was 0.4% higher.
The tumble in oil prices was halted as the US revealed smaller weekly crude oil inventories. A barrel of Brent Crude oil was trading 1% higher at 70.52 US dollars.
Love Island broadcaster ITV warned it expects half-year advertising revenues to tumble by 6% after Brexit uncertainty hit first quarter trading.
Shares dropped 8p to 123.6p.
Wickes owner Travis Perkins reported a strong rise in first quarter sales as the DIY chain was buoyed by better weather compared with last March’s Beast from the East.
The group saw like-for-like sales grow 7.3% in the three months to March 31, with total sales rising 5.4%.
Shares were up 47p to 1,451p.
Non-Standard Finance (NSF) dismissed suggestions that it would have to raise fresh capital if the sub-prime lender was to succeed in its £1.3 billion takeover tilt for rival Provident.
The idea was put forward by Provident in the latest war of words between the two firms.
Shares in NSF were down 0.8p at 51p, while Provident dropped 3.2p to 503.8p.
Joules announced that it has poached a top director from supermarket Asda to fill the shoes of the clothing brand’s departing chief executive.
Nick Jones will succeed current boss Colin Porter, whose retirement was announced this year.
Shares in the company slipped 3p to 275p.
Insurance premiums fell at Direct Line in the first three months of the year amid “tough” competition.
Shares inched 5.4p lower to 312p.
Pub chain Wetherspoon’s was urged by the City to put up its prices, as its strong sales performance continues to be offset by higher costs.
It came as quarterly results revealed like-for-like sales were up 7.6% in the 13 weeks to April 28.
Shares tumbled by 59p to 1,286p.
Cigarette firm Imperial Brands said profit rose sharply in the first half of the year as it reaped the benefits of reduced expenses and the growing strength of the company’s vaping brands.
Its stock plummeted 147p to 2,180.5p.
Estate agent Savills has said that trading in the year to date has been in line with expectations, and is set to remain at that pace for the full year.
Shares were up 10.5p to 884p.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Micro Focus up 67.4p to 1,812p, Informa up 26p to 786p, Hargreaves Lansdown up 49p to 2,321p and Reckitt Benckiser up 112p to 6,111p.
The biggest fallers in the FTSE 100 were Imperial Brands down 147p to 2,180.5p, ITV down 8p to 123.6p, Tui down 32.4p to 819.2p and easyJet down 33p to 1,050p.