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LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Ends Higher, Boosted By Banks

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11/08/2018 | 03:37pm EST

By Barbara Kollmeyer and Anneken Tappe, MarketWatch

London's main stock index ended the day higher Thursday as banks and resource stocks again led gains.

How are markets performing?

The FTSE 100 index closed 0.3% higher at 7,140.68, adding on from Wednesday's rally of 1.1% .

The British pound spent much of the session in negative territory and sold off as the U.S. dollar strengthened on the back of the Federal Reserve's policy decision, which came after European stock markets closed. Sterling last bought $1.3055, compared with $1.1326 late Wednesday in New York.

What's moving markets?

Thursday's trading session continued to capitalize on Wednesday's optimism induced by the result of the midterm election. Tuesday's vote saw power in the House of Representatives go to the Democrats, while the Republicans retained power of the Senate.

Brexit was back on the radar amid reports a key cabinet meeting to discuss the U.K.'s position has been delayed from Thursday to the weekend. The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/nov/07/crunch-cabinet-meeting-over-theresa-may-brexit-deal-delayed-amid-row) reported that a disagreement over whether cabinet members could see the final working document over the Irish border backstop. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar suggested on Wednesday it would be tough to still seal a deal between London and Brussels in November.

Up 0.7% this week so far, the British pound eased up, which helped provide support for the main index as multinational companies generate most of their sales in other currencies.

Investors were also following the Federal Reserve's November update, which came in after the market close and saw monetary policy unchanged. The central bank is expected to raise rates by 25 basis points next month.

What stocks are moving?

Heavyweight HSBC (HSBA.LN) closed 1% higher, Lloyds Banking Group ended the day 2.4% up and Barclays finished 2% higher.

Royal Dutch Shell Group PLC (RDSA.LN) (RDSA.LN) slipped to end 0.3% lower, but Rio Tinto finished up 1.3%.

Burberry Group closed 2.7% higher after the luxury retailer posted a 36% profit rise and backed its 2019 guidance.

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BARCLAYS 1.45% 161.4 Delayed Quote.5.70%
BURBERRY GROUP -0.31% 1758 Delayed Quote.1.61%
FTSE 100 INDEX 0.28% 7234.11 End-of-day quote.0.00%
HSBC HOLDINGS 0.84% 647.2 Delayed Quote.-0.79%
LLOYDS BANKING GROUP 1.06% 56.13 Delayed Quote.7.12%
RIO TINTO -0.59% 3879 Delayed Quote.4.61%
ROYAL DUTCH SHELL -0.74% 26.315 Delayed Quote.3.33%
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