Ster­ling climbs on hopes of wage growth

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - BUSINESS -

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.

This could also en­cour­age a “more hawk­ish” tone at the Bank of Eng­land’s next meet­ing in May, ac­cord­ing to Fiona Cin­cotta, se­nior mar­ket an­a­lyst at City In­dex.

She added: “The in­dex was weighed down by a com­bi­na­tion of a weaker oil price, a stronger pound and a large sell-off in WPP and Evraz, al­though a rally in the US helped lift the FTSE into the close.

“In­vestors con­cen­trated on putting the US-led mil­i­tary bomb­ings against As­sad’s regime be­hind them and for­tu­nately there is plenty for them to fo­cus on.”

In oil mar­kets, Brent crude prices were down 1.3% at 71.64 dol­lars a bar­rel, as fears cooled about ten­sions in the Mid­dle East.

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

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