Western Mail - - BUSINESS -

sion.barry@waleson­ LON­DON'S blue chip in­dex was under pres­sure yes­ter­day as ster­ling climbed on hopes of pos­i­tive data on UK em­ploy­ment.

The FTSE 100 ended the day 66.36 points lower, clos­ing down 0.91% at 7,198.2.

The pound was up 0.61% against the dol­lar at 1.432. Against the euro, the pound was up 0.44% to 1.157.

UK un­em­ploy­ment is ex­pected to re­main con­stant at 4.3% in data pub­lished to­day, but av­er­age earn­ings are fore­cast to rise to 3% in the three months to Fe­bru­ary, mean­ing wage growth could over­take in­fla­tion for the first time in over a year.

In UK stocks, traders sold off WPP's stock in the wake of the res­ig­na­tion of long-stand­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Sir Mar­tin Sor­rell.

Sir Mar­tin, who was the boss of the ad­ver­tis­ing giant for more than 30 years, stepped down over the week­end fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions of mis­con­duct. WPP's shares closed the day down 6.48% or 77p at 1,111p.

Shares in Costa owner Whit­bread rock­eted af­ter ac­tivist in­vestor El­liott said it had be­come the busi­ness's largest share­holder.

El­liott now owns over 6% of Whit­bread, the firm said on Satur­day, and it is un­der­stood that it will now push for Costa and Premier Inn to be­come two sep­a­rate listed en­ti­ties.

Whit­bread's shares closed up 7.19% or 283p at 4,218p.

The big­gest ris­ers on the FTSE 100 were Whit­bread, up 283p to 4,218p, Smur­fit Kappa Group, up 90p to 3,072p, Marks and Spencer up 4.6p to 276.3p and Rolls Royce, up 11p to 877.8p.

The big­gest fall­ers on the FTSE 100 were Evraz down 27.4p to 365.2p, WPP down 77p to 1,111p and Sage Group down 18.6p to 598.4p.

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