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Pound slides as Lords debate Article 50 bill

Pound falls to seven-week low against dollar as House of Lords debates Brexit bill and weak consumer spending weighs.

 
Pound slides as Lords debate Article 50 bill

The pound has fallen to a seven-week low against the dollar as the House of Lords debates the Article 50 bill that will give prime minister Theresa May the right to start formal talks over the UK's exit from the European Union.

Sterling fell 0.4% to $1.219, its lowest level since mid-January, when investors were fretting ahead of Theresa May's speech on her plans for Brexit.

The pound has fallen against the dollar for seven of the last eight trading days, with UK economic data also weighing on the currency.

The latest figures from the British Retail Consortium showed falling sales in February, with non-food sales registering a quarterly decline.

'February UK retail sales represented another soft update, with the past three months confirming the weakest quarterly sales in non-food for almost five years (with clothing especially soft,' said James Grizinic, analyst at Jefferies.

'Food sales are improving very slightly, but lagging the build in inflation, suggesting trading down may have become a feature also on this front.'

Despite the boost from a weak pound, the FTSE 100 edging only marginally higher, up 10 points at 7,360. Intertek (ITRK) was the biggest riser on the index, up 3.3% at £37.14 after solid results from the product testing firm.

Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) was the biggest faller, down 4.7% despite posting a 35% rise in 2016 profits, as analysts warned it was overvalued.

'A price-earnings ratio of 23 times is too rich,' said Liberum analyst Jason Holden. 'We continue to see the merits of cheaper and attractive growth companies elsewhere in the sector.'

Standard Life (SL) was also among the fallers, down 3.2% at 387.2p and giving up some of yesterday's gains on news of its merger with Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN). Aberdeen meanwhile fell towards the bottom of the FTSE 250, down 2.8% at 290p.

Among 'mid cap' stocks, Aggreko (AGGK) was a heavy faller, down 12.6% at 924.5p after the temporary power provider posted a 3% fall in revenues and warned profits would be lower this year.

Grafton (GFTU_u) surged to the top of the FTSE 250, up 10.2% at 669p after the building supplies group posted a 14% rise in profits.

Just Eat (JE) was just behind, up 6.9% at 553.5p after the online food delivery company reported a doubling of 2016 earnings.

3 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Cynical Investor2

Mar 07, 2017 at 15:49

Parliamentary democracy it may be, but how a bunch of Unelected members can claim to be thinking of our Economy by frustrating the process the House of Commons have overwhelming approved, beggars belief.

After the dust has settled, reform of the Lords must be undertaken.

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White Stick follower

Mar 07, 2017 at 18:12

Why don't we have a referendum on abolishing the House of Lords? Then almost certainly we can get rid of the old 'dodderers', party creeps,Bishops, ex coppers & etc etc- why do we need them and a selection of riff raff,largely wealthy & who have little interest in anything apart from their own?

Watch the Parliamentary channel when the 'work' in the Lords is in action, and see the virtually empty chamber, someone droning on and most of those present asleep.

We would save the tax payers a significant sum and its hard to see what we would lose..

report this

Anne Dearden

Mar 08, 2017 at 06:53

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/170686

Replace the unelected House of Lords with a publicly elected body

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