At the close: Sterling surge holds down the FTSE 100

Billy Bambrough
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Nope, not that Sterling. He isn't surging anywhere (Source: Getty)

The FTSE 100 closed flat this evening after ending yesterday's session at an 11-month high.

The blue-chip index closed at 6,680.69 points, down just two points and flat in percentage terms. The end to yesterday's rally was put down to sterling being on course for its best performance against the yen in over three years after Theresa May was named as the successor to Prime Minister David Cameron.

A 1.9 per cent rise for the pound sent it to a one-week high of $1.3246, while against the safe haven Japanese yen sterling climbed almost four per cent to 138.66 yen. The rise is its best performance since April 2013 though pales against its fall last month.

Mid-caps again outperformed as investors cheered the political certainty following the appointment of Theresa May as the next prime minister.

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The FTSE 250 climbed by 0.6 per cent and ended the day at 16,807.07 points, now just three per cent shy of its pre-EU referendum levels.

The index was lead by Rathbone Brothers and DFS Furniture, which added 10.2 per cent and 11.4 per cent respectively.

Amongst large-caps, safe haven stocks lead the fallers.

Pharma firms Mediclinic International and Hikma Pharmaceuticals lost five and 3.6 per cent respectively, while AstraZeneca was 1.8 per cent lower by the close.

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Gold miners Randgold Resources and Fresnillo slipped as the gold price lost ground following a return of confidence.

They were down by 4.3 per cent and 2.7 per cent.

Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC Markets, said:

The price of gold pulled back for a second day as global equities rallied, reducing the need for holding funds in a safe-haven. Gold declines were limited by weakness in the US dollar which supported commodities more generally.

Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at City Index added:

Safe haven gold has been falling out of favour since the start of this week. Investors have apparently been piling into equities, especially in the US where the S&P 500 climbed to a new all-time high on Monday and the index future points to a new record high open this afternoon.

Telecom company Vodafone fell by one per cent, after analysts at investment bank Citigroup cut the stock to "neutral" from "buy."

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The blue-chip top risers were airlines, with British Airways owner International Airlines Group climbing five per cent and budget airline easyJet adding 4.3 per cent.

Miner Glencore was up by 4.6 at the close, while insurers Aviva and Prudential rose by around four per cent.

Shares in UK housebuilders Taylor Wimpey, Barratt Developments and Persimmon also climbed, extending the previous session's rally.

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