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Sterling slumps and stocks jump to end frantic week of trading

Jake Cordell
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Traders were left dazed after a volatile week on the markets
Traders were left dazed after a volatile week on the markets (Source: Getty)

Financial markets ended the week on a considerably calmer footing than they begun, but five days of big movements have shattered the post-referendum swagger which was creeping back to corners of the City.

Sterling finished on the back foot, shedding another 0.6 per cent against the dollar to finish things off below $1.22. However, that was a relatively tame day of trading for a currency which has shed eight cents against the dollar in the past two weeks.

Against the euro, things were genuinely quiet, with a few peaks and troughs along the journey but sterling ending the day where it began, unmoved at €1.1082.

As the pound slipped against the dollar, the FTSE 100 reverted to form and trundled higher, adding 0.5 per cent to finish at 7,013. After reaching a record intraday high of 7,129, the blue chip index actually ended down 30 points for the week.

"Tesco is the big winner of the day in London, having emerged triumphant from its ‘David vs Goliath’ duel with Unilever," said IG's Chris Beauchamp.

"Perhaps investors feel more confident about backing Dave Lewis, knowing that he is evidently prepared to face down even his old employer."

Jasper Lawler of CMC Markets added: "This week has clearly seen sentiment wobble but stock market investors are still in dip-buying mode."

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Meanwhile, the Vix "fear index" hit a one-month high in anticipation of heightened uncertainty both as a result of the continuing Brexit negotiations and as markets position themselves for the US Presidential Election on 8 November.

Government borrowing costs also continued their inevitable march higher, with bond yields chucking on an extra seven basis points over the session. The yield on 10-year benchmark UK debt now stands at 1.1 per cent, up from an all-time low of 0.52 per cent over the summer.

What is going on with sterling?

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