The pound's down and the FTSE 100's higher as markets brace themselves for the Autumn Statement

Emma Haslett
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Markets are nervously awaiting so-called white rabbits from Hammond (Source: Getty)

The pound fell against both the dollar and the euro, while the FTSE 100 edged higher as markets braced themselves ahead of chancellor Philip Hammond's first Autumn Statement.

The pound stayed below $1.24, falling 0.3 per cent against the dollar to $1.2391 in late morning trading, and dipping 0.3 per cent against the euro to €1.1651.

Shares, on the other hand, edged higher, with the FTSE 100 rising 0.3 per cent to 6,839 points, led by miners Fresnillo, United Utilities and Randgold.

On the FTSE 250, Thomas Cook's shares rose more than nine per cent to 80.4p despite taking a £10m hit to profits.

Meanwhile, estate agents fared rather worse after it was revealed Hammond will use his speech to scrap letting agents' fees.

Shares in Foxtons were down 9.1 per cent at 111.6p in lunchtime trading, while Countrywide shares fell 3.5 per cent to 197.9p.

"It’s been quite a slow start to trading on Wednesday, with equity markets in Europe trading relatively mixed and US futures currently pointing to a flat open," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda.

"Commodities have been a good source of direction for the markets in recent days but it appears we’re running out of steam here as well which may explain the lack of direction so far today."

"We’re seeing some gains in oil early in the session but even this is quite small when you compare them to what we’ve seen in recent weeks. It would appear that while traders are pricing in an increased chance of an OPEC deal to cut production, they’re not fully buying into it as they have in the past which is not surprising given the obstacles they need to overcome. With EIA crude inventory data to come later on today, it will be interesting to see if oil can hold onto these gains given that API reported a small decrease in inventories on Tuesday."

Follow Autumn Statement news and reaction on our live blog throughout the day here.

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