The pound edged higher after European Union negotiator Michel Barnier said a Brexit deal with the UK was 90% done but the FTSE 100 dipped on disappointing economic growth data from China.
Sterling gained 0.13% to $1.303 against the dollar after Barnier told France Inter radio: ‘Ninety per cent of the accord on the table has been agreed with Britain.’
However, he cautioned the talks could still founder over the Irish border, adding: ‘I’m convinced a deal is necessary, I’m still not sure we’ll get one.’
On the stock market, the FTSE 100 rose eight points to 7,035.
Airlines were among the fallers as the oil price lifted from the week's lows, with Brent crude rising just above the $80 per barrel mark.
Joining them at the bottom of the index was InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), a long-term favourite of Citywire AAA-rated Terry Smith, down 6.1% at £39.61 after reporting lower quarterly room revenue in its US business.
On the FTSE 250, Intu Properties (INTUP) jumped 11.6% to 198.4p as the shopping centre owner said it was considering a 215p per share takeover bid from a consortium led by deputy chairman John Whittaker.
Among 'small-cap' stocks Acacia Mining (ACAA) tumbled 12.7% to 138.2p after Tanzanian authorities charges three of the miner's local subsidiaries, an employee and a former staffing for money laundering and tax evasion.
Pendragon (PDG) fell 11.4% to 23.4p as the car dealership said new emissions regulations had 'created disruption in new car sales and uncertainty over new vehicle supply'.
On the Alternative Investment Market, shares in growth companies resumed their slide.
Robotic automation company Blue Prism (PRSMB) fell 5.8% to £16.35, computer games services supplier Keywords Studios (KWS) was down 4.7% to £14.32 and online estate agent Purplebricks (PURP) slid 2.7% to 226.2p.
Shares in some of the AIM market's best performers have been volatile since last week's heavy sell-off, as growth stocks have come under pressure and fears tax exemptions could be scrapped have weighed.