Pound rises against dollar as pressure mounts on Trump
The pound rose above 1.30 against the US dollar for the first time since September as strong UK retail sales gave a boost to sterling and jitters surrounding calls for Donald Trump's impeachment weighed on the American currency.
Sterling was up more than 0.4% versus the US dollar at 1.303 in early trading, its highest level in nearly eight months, but was trading 0.2% higher at 1.300 by the afternoon.
Against the euro, the pound was up 0.5% at 1.168. Investors piled into the UK currency after month-on-month retail sales data outstripped expectations for April, rising by 2.3% due in part to the later timing of Easter holidays and warmer weather.
David Madden, a market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said the pound could make further gains.
"The positive run of UK economic data coupled with the political uncertainty in the US could see the 1.30 mark as a base to go long from." The strength of the UK currency weighed on the FTSE 100, which ended the day down nearly 0.9% or 67.05 points at 7,436.42.
Across Europe, the French Cac 40 and German Dax fell by 0.5% and 0.3%, respectively.