Belfast Telegraph

Pound loses ground as Bank of England keeps mum on interest rates

The pound lost ground on Tuesday after key officials from the Bank of England failed to give any clues on whether they would join growing calls for an interest rate hike at the next Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting.

Sterling was trading around 0.2% higher versus the US dollar in the early afternoon, but dropped to minus 0.3% to around 1.283 after the speeches were released.

The currency also lost ground against the euro and was down 0.7% at 1.122 by the stock market close.

Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at SpreadEx, said: "The pound suffered the biggest change in direction this Tuesday.

"Having gotten hyped this morning for a double dose of MPC intrigue from Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane and deputy governor Ben Broadbent, the currency ended up bitterly disappointed that the rate hike elephant in the room wasn't addressed by either man."

The FTSE 100 ended the day down 0.55% or 40.27 points at 7,329.76, while the French Cac 40 and German Dax fell by 0.48% and 0.07% respectively.

In oil markets, Brent crude prices jumped 1.5% to 47.71 US dollars, reversing an earlier sell-off sparked by a number of price forecast downgrades by banks including Goldman Sachs.

Education group Pearson was the worst performer on the FTSE 100, dropping 5.5p to 655p, after selling off a 22% stake in its publishing unit Penguin Random House to Germany's Bertelsmann for around one billion US dollars (£776 million).

Marks & Spencer shares were also among the biggest losers on London's blue chip index, falling 15.9p to 323.1p after reporting a 1.2% drop in like-for-like sales in its in its clothing and home division over the 13 weeks to July 1, while food sales dropped 0.1%.

Away from the top tier, Galliford Try shares soared 94p to 1,261p as the housebuilder said pre-tax profits for the year to June would come in at the top end of expectations - between £46 million to £59 million.

Page Group slumped 11.4p to 477.8p despite posting a record profit for the second quarter, as the recruitment firm warned that Brexit and political uncertainty were continuing to hit the UK jobs market.

GoCompare jumped 7.75p to 111.5p after revealing it is on track for a 22% leap in half-year earnings, while Young & Co's Brewery A shares ended the day higher by 7.5p at 1,310p as the recent heatwave helped raise like-for-like sales by 8.6% across its managed pubs.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Glencore up 6.45p at 307.5p, Anglo American up 16.5p to 1,084.5p, Fresnillo up 17p to 1,447p, and Worldpay Group up 3p at 376p.

The biggest fallers were Pearson down 35.5p at 655p, Marks & Spencer Group down 15.9p at 323.1p, Associated British Foods down 121p to 2,845p, and Prudential down 48.5p at 1,750p.

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