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Sterling slides as May pleads with EU over Brexit deadline

The pound plunged over 1% today as fears of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit intensified, giving the FTSE 100 another boost although mid-cap shares retreated.

Sterling slides as May pleads with EU over Brexit deadline

The pound plunged over 1% today as fears of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit intensified, giving the FTSE 100 another upwards boost.

Sterling tumbled to $1.3044 against the dollar as prime minister Theresa May went to Brussels to appeal to EU leaders to give her until the end of June to get her withdrawal agreement approved, although there was little sign of MPs softening their opposition.

The Brexit crisis compounded with a strong dollar which recovered after the US Federal Reserve yesterday reiterated its new ‘dovish’ policy of viewing interest rate rises this year as unlikely.

The weak pound lifted the FTSE 100 of blue-chip shares, which closed 64 points or 0.9% up at 7,355.

Drugs stocks led the charge with Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) up nearly 7% at £17.62, with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) up 2.7% at £15.66.

Next (NXT) gained 2.6% to £53.16 as investors warmed to the high street fashion chain’s full-year results.

Brexit and interest rate anxiety worried bank investors with Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) sliding 3.3% to 248.9p and Lloyds (LLOY) and Barclays (BARC) slipping over 2%.

Mid-cap stocks were also under pressure with the FTSE 250 retreating 41 points or 0.2% to 19,347.

Renishaw (RSW) slumped 11% to £37.30 after the popular engineering group cut its full-year profit forecast, citing weak sales in Asia and softer demand from consumer electronics manufacturers.

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