At the open: Strong FTSE 100 highlights wider Brexit fears

Jake Cordell
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The FTSE 100 might be up - but is that a good thing for the UK economy?
The FTSE 100 might be up - but is that a good thing for the UK economy? (Source: Getty)

Financial markets appear to be getting themselves into a bit of a pattern in the wake of the EU referendum.

As sterling moves one way (down, inevitably), the FTSE 100 moves in the other. This morning is no different. After a small hiccup at the open, London's leading benchmark rose 0.4 per cent to 6,570, flirting with those 10-month highs reached at the end of last week.

The pound, meanwhile, was under pressure. Goldman Sachs slashed its forecast for cable, expecting sterling to be worth just $1.20 within a matter of months. It crashed through the $1.28 barrier overnight to set a fresh 31-year low, before recovering to $1.2990 in the minutes after UK-based traders took over the book.

Sterling also tumbled to €1.1622 against the euro at one point in Asian trading, but since recovered to €1.1732.

Even on the rising FTSE 100 it was an index of two halves. At the top, international dollar-earning dividend-paying firms like Diageo, Imperial Brands and Fresnillo were out on top. Since the vote to leave, Glaxosmithkline, which earns 95 per cent of its revenues from abroad, is worth one-fifth more.

Meanwhile, at the bottom lie domestic, sterling-sufferering, pro-cyclical household names like Tesco, Easyjet and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). These firms, which move with the general economy and get hit hard when sterling is weak, have all been battered in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

None other than the Bank of England governor Mark Carney joined the ranks of those telling people to stop looking at the FTSE 100 as a barometer for the health of the UK yesterday.

The way it's behaving lately, you could even make the case the bluechip actually moves in the opposite direction to the wider economy.

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