Pound sinks to one-week low against euro
The pound fell to a one-week low against the euro after minutes from the European Central Bank's (ECB) June meeting showed some members had reconsidered its government bond-buying programme.
Sterling fell as low as 1.133 versus the euro on Thursday afternoon, marking its lowest level since June 28, before recovering slightly to trade 0.3% lower at 1.136.
Investors were flocking to the EU currency after ECB minutes revealed that members of the interest-rate setting Governing Council had discussed withdrawing its bond-buying pledge.
Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at SpreadEx, said: "Though the central bank urged 'continued caution in communication', news that Mario Draghi and co. discussed dropping the 'easing bias' (i.e. references to expanding or extending its bond-buying programme) from last month's policy message has been gleefully gobbled up by the hawk-hungry euro.
"This sent the currency half a percent higher against both the dollar and the pound, hitting a one-week peak against the latter."
Sterling, meanwhile, managed to rise 0.2% versus the US dollar to trade at 1.296, while the FTSE 100 ended the day in the red, dropping 0.4% or 30.32 points to 7,337.28.
Across Europe, the French Cac 40 and German Dax ended the day down 0.5% and nearly 0.6%, respectively.
In oil markets, Brent crude prices jumped 1.2% to 48.90 US dollars per barrel after data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed a larger than expected drop in US oil and gas stockpiles.
In UK stocks, Associated British Foods rose 75p to 2,997p to hold the top spot on the FTSE 100.
The Primark owner upped its full-year outlook after reporting a 20% rise in revenues at actual exchange rates, boosted in part by the Brexit-hit pound.
Reckitt Benckiser shares slumped 117p to 7,583p after the household goods giant warned of a permanent hit to sales following last month's massive worldwide cyber attack which wrought havoc across its factories.
Shares in Bovis Homes Group dropped by 3.5p to 966p after the company revealed it would set aside another £3.5 million to deal with customer complaints over the poor quality of its homes.
The house builder has already set aside £7 million to cover remedial work and compensation for affected customers.
JustEat shares ended the day down 6.5p to 666p. The online delivery firm announced that former Moneysupermarket.com boss Peter Plumb would take the helm as chief executive on September 18, replacing David Buttress who stepped down at the end of March due to "urgent family matters".
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Associated British Foods up 75p to 2,997p, Barclays up 4.95p to 209.15p, Barratt Developments up 10p to 592p, and Royal Bank of Scotland Group 4.2p to 259.9p.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Next down 120p to 3,785p, Glencore down 7.75p to 299.65p, Fresnillo down 36p to 1,436p, and Ashtead Group down 35p to 1,551p.