Today, the FTSE 100 was lifted by the weak pound, which dropped after Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General of the United Kingdom, admitted that little headway was made in the latest Brexit talks with the officials of the European Union.
The top index of London closed 12.57 points, or 0.17 percent, higher at 7,196 while DAX of Germany dropped by 0.28 percent and the CAC of France was down by 0.16 percent.
The pound slumped after Cox said that the negotiations in Brussels with the chief Brexit negotiator of the European Union, Michel Barnier, were “robust” and that both sides exchanged “strong views” over the impending departure of the United Kingdom from the trading bloc.
Sterling was down 0.23 percent against the US dollar at 1.314 and 0.28 percent lower as compared to the euro at 1.161 at the London market close.
A senior market analyst at City Index, Fiona Cincotta, said that “Gloomy Brexit headlines continued to eat away at trader optimism. According to the UK Attorney General, returning from Brussels there has been little in the way of progress over changes to the Irish backstop arrangement.”
She added: “(Prime Minister) Theresa May going back to Parliament empty-handed will not only be highly embarrassing but also mean that she is unlikely to get the numbers necessary to push her Brexit deal through.”
Cincotta added that while the pound continues to be comfortably above the 1.30 mark against the greenback, the “demand has been weakening over the past few days and we expect it to continue to weaken ahead of next week’s vote.”
In corporate news, gambling giant Paddy Power Betfair unveiled plans to change its group name as it posted an 11% fall in annual profits after ramping up investment in its fledgling US sports betting business.
The firm said it would be seeking shareholder approval at its annual general meeting (AGM) in May for a change to Flutter Entertainment to reflect its “increasing diversity”, although it stressed this would not affect consumer brands.
The FTSE 100’s biggest risers were British American Tobacco which is up 149.5p to 3,050p, Wood Group up 18.4p to 567.6p, Evraz up 18.2p to 610p, and DS Smith up 13p to 362.1p.
On the other hand, the biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Burberry which is down 79p to 1,874.5p, Paddy Power Betfair down 165p to 6,065p, Intertek down 96p to 4,900p, and Legal & General down 10p to 276.2p.