FTSE closes higher as pound hits 11 week low

Despite a brief spell in the red after midday, the FTSE moved higher. Gains in housebuilders boosted by the Chancellor’s extension to help to buy, blowout earnings from BP, combined with a weaker pound and stronger start on Wall Street overshadowed softer miners and disappointing results from Reckitt Benckiser.

Despite a brief spell in the red after midday, the FTSE moved higher. Gains in housebuilders boosted by the Chancellor’s extension to help to buy, blowout earnings from BP, combined with a weaker pound and stronger start on Wall Street overshadowed softer miners and disappointing results from Reckitt Benckiser.

The pound sunk versus the stronger dollar as a lack of developments over Brexit unnerved investors just as the S&P rating agency warned that a no deal Brexit would spark a recession. With the clock ticking the risk of the UK crashing out of the EU in a disorderly Brexit is growing. This fear is starting to be reflected in the value of the pound. Until recently pound traders had appeared complacent that a deal would get done, keeping the pound relatively elevated, around $1.30. Yet the reality is starting to sink in, that there is a very real possibility that a no deal Brexit could very soon be a reality.

S&P warn over no deal Brexit
The warning from the S&P echoes previous warnings from businesses leaders and leading economists. The picture painted by the rating agency was dismal, with a recession forecast, unemployment rising to levels last seen in the financial crisis, house prices falling by 10% and inflation jumping to 4.7%. These stark figures come just one day after the Chancellors optimistic budget. The pound is now trading over 11% lower from its peak in April and its lowest level since mid-August.

Investors will now look towards tomorrows consumer confidence data, which unlikely to prompt the bulls to buy in. Thursday’s Bank of England’s super Thursday will attract a good amount of attention. However, pound traders are fully aware that the health of the UK economy rests solely on the UK’s ability to seal a deal with the EU.

US consumer confidence at 18 year high
Also working against the pound was a significantly stronger dollar. The dollar rallied as US consumer confidence hit a fresh 18 year high, unexpectedly climbing to 137.9. Analysts had expected confidence to dip slightly to 137.9. Despite the recent rout in the stock market US consumers confidence grew at the fastest pace since 2014. Higher confidence means Americans are spending as strong jobs market supports households. As we head towards the mid term elections, it is clear that Americans are confident in their outlook for the economy.

Join our live webinars for the latest analysis and trading ideas. Register now

GAIN Capital UK Limited (trading as “City Index”) is an execution-only service provider. This material, whether or not it states any opinions, is for general information purposes only and it does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. This material has been prepared using the thoughts and opinions of the author and these may change. However, City Index does not plan to provide further updates to any material once published and it is not under any obligation to keep this material up to date. This material is short term in nature and may only relate to facts and circumstances existing at a specific time or day. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment, legal, tax or other advice and no reliance should be placed on it.

No opinion given in this material constitutes a recommendation by City Index or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. The material has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research. Although City Index is not specifically prevented from dealing before providing this material, City Index does not seek to take advantage of the material prior to its dissemination. This material is not intended for distribution to, or use by, any person in any country or jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to local law or regulation.

For further details see our full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.