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Monday 19 August 2019

Pound gains strength as Boris Johnson enters Downing Street

The FTSE 100 closed at 7,501.46.

The pound was stronger as Boris Johnson entered Number 10 (PA)
The pound was stronger as Boris Johnson entered Number 10 (PA)

By PA City Staff

The pound gained strength on Wednesday as Boris Johnson officially took office, while the Euro suffered from jitters ahead of a central bank meeting.

Sterling was 0.47% up on the US dollar at 1.25, and it gained 0.54% on the euro to trade at 1.121.

Although the instalment of the new Prime Minister lent some stability to the currency, it also benefited from the decline in the Euro ahead of Thursday’s European Central Bank meeting.

Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index, said the currency could still fluctuate as the new leader makes his first moves.

“Speculation is rife that Johnson will show the door to the remaining ministers who are pro-remain and replace them with stronger Brexiteers,” she said.

“The pound will take its next cue from his first decisions in office.”

Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 dropped 55.4 points to close 0.73% lower at 7,501.46 as mining stocks dragged on the index.

The French Cac was down 0.22% but the German Dax rose 0.26%.

On the oil markets, prices were down as traders shrugged off new data showing a fall in the size of the US’s crude inventories.

A barrel of Brent Crude oil was trading at 64 US dollars, down 0.3%.

In company news, Aston Martin’s year went from bad to worse on Wednesday as bosses admitted sales of their luxury cars have been weaker than expected.

Shares crashed on the news, shedding 268.2p to 766.8p.

Specialist insurer Just Group saw shares drop 5.09p to 49.06p after retirement income sales plummeted by 30% in the first half of the year.

ITV reported a fall in revenues and earnings for the past six months, despite hailing a strong performance by Love Island.

But the broadcaster was the biggest riser on the FTSE 100, gaining 7p to 113.25p, after the results avoided investors’ worst fears.

Shares in Marston’s plunged 14.6p to 107.2p after the pub giant warned investors of weaker sales over the past four months.

Sports Direct confirmed a new date for the release of its annual results, which are now scheduled for Friday.

The company’s shares declined last week after it postponed the results, but had gained 26.2p to close at 254.6p on Wednesday.

Drinks maker Britvic hailed a “solid” third quarter even as its sales decreased. Shares dipped 5.5p to 890p.

Bargain chain B&M has reported growth in the first quarter, despite tough competition from last year’s bumper summer.

Shares jumped 18.2p to 375.3p.

Standard Life Aberdeen settled a long-running feud with Lloyds Banking Group, which will have to cash out £140 million to the fund management business.

Shares in Standard Life were up 3.2p to 310.4p while Lloyds shares were flat at 56.97p.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were ITV up 7p to 113.25p, Informa up 54p to 881p, Taylor Wimpey up 6.45p to 173.5p and Next up 196p to 5,658p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Rio Tinto down 222p to 4,606.5p, Standard Chartered down 32.2p to 682.4p, BHP Group down 81.7p to 1,960.8p, Croda International down 164p to 4,662p.

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