At the close: EasyJet brightens up drab day in the City

 
Jake Cordell
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EasyJet was a rare spot of hope for traders on an otherwise quiet day
EasyJet was a rare spot of hope for traders on an otherwise quiet day (Source: Getty)

It's August. It's raining. It's Friday. It was never going to be easy for the traders still at their desks to get going.

And it showed, with the FTSE 100 yawning to a 0.2 per cent loss for the day, clocking off at 6,858. That was down slightly on the week after the bluechip index started strongly, threatening to close in on an all-time high.

However, there were a few glimpses of life on an otherwise dreary day for the London-listed firms. Takeover speculation sent EasyJet higher, up 1.6 per cent to 1,095p - adding to a rally late yesterday afternoon which leaves the budget airline five per cent higher than yesterday lunchtime.

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On the smaller FTSE 250, the fallout from yesterday's news that the Rank-888-William Hill three-way tie-up had been killed off was the top story. The fact share prices in all three climbed speaks to how nervous investors were over the deal as it stood.

The currency markets were probably crying out for a quiet day, but late rumours that the UK won't trigger Article 50 until Spring 2017 put paid to that idea. Sterling was down by more than one per cent against the dollar in late afternoon trading and edged off 0.5 per cent against the euro.

Eyes have already begun to turn to the crucial event of next week - Janet Yellen's landmark speech at the annual central bank bash at Jackson Hole. The Fed chair won't be speaking until Friday meaning plenty of time for speculation - and market moves - in the run-up.

"Next week promises fireworks," said IG's Joshua Mahony.

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