At the close: Calm before the storm for FTSE 100 and sterling

Jake Cordell
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Markets had it easy today - though it could be that they are just in the eye of the storm
Markets had it easy today - though it could be that they are just in the eye of the storm (Source: Getty)

Referendum news was - unsurprisingly - talk of the town today, though there was no repeat of the violent volatility witnessed on the financial markets in recent days.

The FTSE 100 extended its winning run, shaking off losses at the start of the session to close up 0.4 per cent at 6,226.

Meanwhile, after a bullish start to the morning, on course to cap its highest level for the year against the dollar, sterling retreated after the latest EU referendum polls made for mixed reading. By late afternoon the pound was down 0.26 per cent for the day at $1.4660.

Financials were at the top end of the FTSE charts today, while miners had a mixed day. Given these are the two largest sectors, it was perhaps unsurprising that their performances cancelled each other out and the index as a whole ended only modestly up.

Standard Life climbed 2.5 per cent, followed by Barclays, RSA Insurance Group, Admiral Group and Royal Bank of Scotland which all jumped by more then 1.5 per cent.

With Janet Yellen giving testimony to the Senate Banking Committee, US stocks were bouncing around in the first few hours of their day, and were up by around half a per cent at the close of the London markets.

With tomorrow the last day of trading ahead of the EU referendum and liquidity expected to be in short supply, traders will be thankful for a period of relative calm, though there is a palpable sense of edge in the markets as the vote draws near.

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