Wednesday 24 February 2021 12:30 pm

FTSE 100 creeps up as surging pound dents exporters

The FTSE 100 crept back into the black today as the index’s exporters were hit by the pound rising to its highest levels since 2018.

Having opened down 0.6 per cent at 6,599 points, London’s premier index was up 0.3 per cent at 6,643 points just after midday.

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The slight rise came as sterling neared the £1.42 mark against the dollar, the highest the currency has swapped hands since April 2018.

It also pushed higher against the euro, rising 0.3 per cent rise to a 12-month peak of €1.165 against its single currency rival.

A stronger pound is bad for exporters as it makes exports more expensive, while importers drop in price.

The rise meant that the FTSE is now outpacing the French CAC, but the German DAX is currently up 0.8 on the day.

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The FTSE 250 is faring considerably better than its larger sibling, up 1.1 per cent so far for the day.

Tthere were some strong performers in early trading, with Dettol-maker Reckitt Benckiser profiting from the pandemic with a £2.1bn profit in 2020.

That sent shares up 1.7 per cent in the first hour of trading, though they stalled therafter.

Banker Lloyd’s, which decided to reimpose its dividend despite a fall in profits, also rose 2.5 per cent.

In addition, miners Anglo American and Polymetal continued to surf the rising tide of commodity prices, picking up another 2.8 per cent each this morning.

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And continued optimism about a faster-than-hoped return to international travel pushed BA owner IAG up another 3.8 per cent.