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FTSE 100 recovers as sterling slips

UK shares reversed early losses to finish higher as the pound lost ground against other currencies.North Korea’s threat to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific had hit stocks in early trade, but the FTSE 100 share index then recovered to close 47 points higher at 7,311.The pound slipped 0.4% against the dollar to $1.352, and fell 0.5% against the euro to 1.131 euros.Markets were reacting to Theresa May’s speech in Florence.The UK prime minister said there should be a two-year transition period after Brexit, during which trade should continue on current terms.However, analysts said the pound dipped after she had failed to give concrete details on how the UK would retain access to the EU’s single market.Among the main share movers, Smiths Group dropped 5.6% despite the conglomerate reporting a 17% rise in profit to £528m for the year to 31 July.Analysts focused on Smiths’ slight dip in underlying revenues, with Morgan Stanley describing it as “disappointing”.After jumping more than 14% on Thursday, shares in Johnson Matthey continued to rise, climbing a further 1.2%. Investors had cheered the company confirming its full-year sales guidance and the announcement of a £200m fund to invest in developing battery materials so it can benefit from the growth in electric cars.
Source: BBC News

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