FTSE 100 finishes the week lower as the pound slides below $1.26

Emma Haslett
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The pound rose as protests turned to riots in the US (Source: Getty)

Having jumped above $1.26 this morning for the first time since the so-called flash crash back in October, the pound slid back in afternoon trading.

Sterling was just 0.2 per cent up against the dollar at $1.2577 by late afternoon trading in London. It was doing rather better against the euro, rising 0.7 per cent to €1.1610.

Meanwhile, having fallen more than 150 points yesterday, today the FTSE 100 had that sinking feeling again, finishing 1.4 per cent lower, at 6,730 points.

And having hit an all-time high yesterday, the Dow Jones followed the FTSE downwards, dropping 0.2 per cent to 18,766 points - while the S&P 500 fell 0.65 per cent, to 2,153 points.

"Much like a weakening euro was perceived to be good for UK stocks, today’s pound rally is doing little to help the FTSE, which has suffered more than most," explained Josh Mahony, market analyst at IG.

"The pound was expected to rise on last week’s realisation that Article 50 is now in the hands of Brexit-sceptic MPs, and with the US election now out of the way, we are seeing that pound rebound take shape,"

Earlier, analysts had warned riots in the US overnight - which Donald Trump blamed on "professional protestors" in a tweet (and then later railed back on) - could hit markets.

"The social unrest... represents a risk for markets which traders should not ignore," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets.

"This is very important and President Trump needs to address this issue as he has taken custody of a divided country.

"Yes, the equity market has achieved another record high over in the US, however, if these protests picked up more steam, we could have some serious problems which could be followed by a sharp sell-off for the market. Investors could lose the confidence and that might result in a move from risk on trade to risk off trade."

The FTSE 100 was dragged down by Randgold Resources, which broke its winning streak to fall almost five per cent to 6,072p in early trading. Other miners, including Fresnillo, Mondi, Glencore and Anglo American followed suit, while BAE Systems - another winner in the immediate aftermath of Trump's election - falling 1.8 per cent to 601.2p.

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