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Brexit blow hits pound, lifts FTSE

Tuesday, 12th March 2019
The FTSE 100 reversed earlier losses to trade 0.25% higher at 7,148.51 by midday as sterling slumped.

The collapse in the pound followed the publication of legal advice from attorney general Geoffrey Cox that suggested the concessions Theresa May received from the EU had not removed the risk of being stuck in the backstop.

This is expected to lead to a defeat for May on her Brexit deal when MPs vote later tonight.


Shares in security services provider G4S fell 3.9% to 200.2p, 2018 earnings down 65% on a £100m charge to settle a lawsuit in California brought by security guards.

Domino's Pizza pared early losses to rise 3.4%, despite a poor international performance sending its profits south. The company also said it expected to open fewer new stores this year, though it raised its dividend by 5.6%.

Wealth management group Quilter added 5.6% to 139.4p on booking a rise in adjusted annual profit, as it improved is operating margins and experienced positive net inflows into its funds.

Fertilizer project developer Sirius Minerals jumped 8.6% to 19.5p after it revealed that it had been approached by a 'major global financial institution' with an alternative, and more attractive, funding proposal.

Oil producer Cairn Energy fell 2.9% to 169.7p as it swung to a deep annual loss owing to asset writedowns.

Auto dealer Pendragon turned around from earlier losses to trade 1.1% to 26.7p despite swinging to an annual loss. The company wrote down the value of its assets to the tune of £95.8m, while car sales fell.

Online gambling group 888 gained 2% to 165.8p after it booked a rise in annual profit, though it lowered its dividend amid lower sales.

Computer services provider Computacenter added 5.7% as its annual adjusted earnings rose on the back of higher sales.

Merchant banking group Close Brothers reported a decline in first half profits amid 'difficult market conditions' in its asset management and brokerage arm. Its shares nevertheless rose 1.4%.


Fashion retailer French Connection gained 1.9% to 43.2p as it returned to underlying profit, though it continued to grapple with a 'tough' retail environment as like-for-like-sales slipped 6.8%.

Recruiter Staffline gained 25% to 840p as its shares emerged from suspension. Investors reacting with relief as the invoicing and payroll practices, whose investigation had led the shares to be suspended, turned out to be relatively minor.

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