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LONDON MARKETS : British Pound Under Pressure After Reports Of Contentious Merkel, Johnson Call

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10/08/2019 | 08:27am EDT

By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch

FTSE 100 index outperforms on sterling weakness

The British pound came under pressure Wednesday as talks between the U.K. and Germany on negotiating a Brexit pact didn't appear to make progress.

The Times reported, citing a source in Johnson's office (https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/brexit-deal-overwhelmingly-unlikely-says-angela-merkel-6m5btjwpr), that German Chancellor Angela Merkel told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a call that Northern Ireland must stay in a customs union "forever." Other U.K. media outlets carried similar accounts.

European Union President Donald Tusk went so far as to tweet to Johnson, "what's at stake is not winning some stupid blame game."

(https://twitter.com/eucopresident/status/1181519363783974912)

   The pound  skidded to $1.2221 from $1.2290 on Tuesday, and it   also fell sharply vs. the euro. 

The FTSE 100 meanwhile outperformed European stock market rivals because of the pound's weakness. It nonetheless declined 0.24% to 7180.48, with markets worried about U.S-China trade talks.

EasyJet (EZJ.LN) shares skidded over 7%, as traders had hoped the airline would have made more progress from the collapse of Thomas Cook and strikes at rivals British Airways and Ryanair. The company said its fiscal-year pretax profit would be at the upper end of its previous expectations, and that current quarter bookings are in line with last year. "We would expect some profit-taking on reassuring results, given recent share price strength," said UBS analysts.

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
EASYJET -1.68% 1256 Delayed Quote.15.61%
FTSE 100 INDEX 0.28% 7234.11 End-of-day quote.0.00%
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