FTSE 100 watch: Footsie slips lower as sterling climbs higher

Ashtead share price rallies after first-quarter results

FTSE 100 watch: Footsie slips lower as sterling climbs higher

The UK benchmark index has fallen into the red in today’s session, pressured by a rise in sterling, which is pressuring blue-chips with international exposure. Ashtead (LON:AHT) has soared to the top of the FTSE 100 leaderboard after updating investors on its first-quarter performance.

FTSE 100 slips lower

As of 12:12 BST, the Footsie had given up 42.40 points to stand 0.58 percent lower at 7,236.90. A rise in sterling is pressuring the index, with the pound rising after the European Union’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said that a Brexit deal could be reached in six to eight weeks.

“For the FTSE it’s not necessarily good news but that [pound/FTSE] relationship has been a bit flakey in the last few weeks, the one to one relationship hasn’t really been all that reliable,” said Ian Williams, strategist at Peel Hunt, as quoted by Reuters.

Individual movers

In individual stock news, Ashtead is outperforming the market after reporting that its rental revenue had climbed 19 percent in the first quarter of its financial year, while its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) came in 20 percent higher. The group further signalled that it will increase and extend its current buyback plans. Ashtead’s share price stands 4.17 percent higher at 2,375.00p.

Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever (LON:ULVR), which updated investors on its simplification plans, meanwhile is trading little changed, having inched 0.08 percent lower to 4,268.00p. AB Foods (LON:ABF), whose shares were sold off yesterday on the back of the group’s pre-closing update, have extended their slide in today’s session, currently trading 1.42 percent in the red at 2,225.00p.

The FTSE 100 index was 0.68 percent down at 7,229.54 points as of 12:50 BST on Tuesday, 11 September 2018.

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