FTSE 100 falls ahead of the Italian referendum - but the pound tries to keep its chin up

Emma Haslett
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The Italian referendum is creating jitters on the markets (Source: Getty)

The FTSE 100 slid almost one per cent in morning trading today, as jitters over the outcome of the Italian referendum and the higher oil price conspired against equities.

The UK's blue-chip market was down 0.9 per cent at 6,693 points in mid-morning trading, pushed down by minters and oil giants, after oil prices jumped this week following an Opec deal to cut production.

BHP Billiton was the biggest faller on the index, dropping 3.8 per cent to 1,288p, while Antofagasta fell three per cent to 684.2p.

Following a jump yesterday after it said it was planning a $1bn dividend, Glencore shares slid 2.5 per cent to 276.5p, while Anglo American fell 2.6 per cent to 1,176p.

Shell A shares fell 1.7 per cent to 2,036p, while BP fell one per cent to 465.05p

Meanwhile, the pound continued the rally it began yesterday, after Brexit secretary David Davis hinted the UK might be will to pay for single market access.

Having risen as high as $1.2640 against the dollar in early trading, the pound settled at $1.2613 this the mid-morning, 0.2 per cent higher, after stronger-than-expected construction figures suggested the sector is healthier than thought. Sterling also climbed 0.3 per cent against the euro, to €1.1850.

"Investors look to be trimming their exposure ahead of the weekend and the Italian referendum," said David Morrison, senior market strategist at Spreadco.

"There’s also a concern that Wednesday’s Opec deal to cut production will prove to be a disappointment with compliance being a major issue.

"In addition, investors are responding to an additional bout of rotation going on in US markets. This saw the Dow end 0.4 per cent higher while the Nasdaq 100 lost close to 1.6 per cent. Investors continued to hoover up banking and financial stocks while the tech sector was out of favour once again."

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