Sterling reverses losses as Trump offers May hope
Donald Trump rowed back on his disparaging comments.
Sterling staged a mini comeback on Friday after coming under pressure on the back of Donald Trump’s comments that a post-Brexit trade deal between Britain and the US could be dead.
The outspoken US president, on an official visit to the UK, warned Theresa May that her Brexit plan could “kill” any UK-US trade deal because Britain would remain so closely aligned to the European Union.
His comments – which included claims that Boris Johnson has “got what it takes” to be prime minister – sparked a sterling sell-off.
However, Mr Trump then rowed back on the comments, leading to the pound bouncing back to end the session marginally up versus the US dollar at 1.32.
Versus the euro, the British currency was flat at 1.13.
The reduction of the pound’s Friday decline meant the FTSE lost some of its swagger Connor Campbell, SpreadEx
Connor Campbell, analyst at SpreadEx, said: “Sterling managed to halve its losses as the afternoon went on.
“That’s as Trump said the US-UK relationship was the ‘highest level of special’, kinder words for Britain than the president had at the start of his visit, with May also claiming she had discussed ‘ambitious’ trade plans with Orange Oaf.”
As the pound recovered, the FTSE 100 was pegged back, but still managed to close in positive territory, ending the day up 10.54 points, or 0.14%, at 7,661.87.
“The reduction of the pound’s Friday decline meant the FTSE lost some of its swagger,” Mr Campbell added.
In stocks, Hays was on the rise after the recruiter said that profit is expected to come in slightly ahead of expectations after the firm booked a solid fourth-quarter performance.
The group said full-year operating profit is set to be “marginally” ahead of consensus, which is currently £240.9 million.
It came as Hays posted overall net fee growth of 14% in the final quarter of the year to June 30, and 15% on a like-for-like basis.
Shares closed up 16.4p at 207.6p.
Experian shares ended down, even as the credit-checking group reported an increase in sales for its first quarter, saying it is on track to meet its target for the year.
The firm reported a 9% rise in its total revenue for the three months ended June 30 at actual exchange rates. Shares closed down 13.5p at 1,907p.
Meanwhile, retailer The Works announced that it is set to list on the stock exchange to raise £65.2 million, valuing the firm at £100 million.
Of the funding raised from the initial public offering (IPO), £28.5 million will go to the company, and £36.7 million to the selling shareholders, as well as the executives and senior management team.
The Works – which sells gifts, stationery and arts and crafts products – will list on the London Stock Exchange at a price of 160p per share.
Across Europe, France’s CAC closed up 0.43% while Germany’s DAX inched up 0.38%.
Brent crude was trading 0.86% higher at 75 US dollars a barrel.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Micro Focus up 57p at 1,278.5p, DCC up 255p at 7,155p, Burberry up 52p at 2,108 and Johnson Matthey up 85p at 3,665p.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Randgold Resources down 92p at 5,480p, Imperial Brands down 33.5p at 2,869p, Whitbread down 40p at 4,000 and Sage Group down 6p at 619.4p.