Sky's shares jump after earnings, while Standard Chartered's stock slips
U.K. stocks rose to a record close Thursday, helped by a drop in the pound that came on news of a stalemate in Brexit talks.
FTSE nabs record: The FTSE 100 index advanced by 0.3% to end at 7,556.24, achieving an all-time closing high, according to FactSet data. It last finished at a record more than four months ago. The gauge remained below a June intraday peak around 7,599.
The London benchmark has recently been boosted by a slide in the pound and by renewed confidence that Prime Minister Theresa May can hold on to cabinet support for her plans to take the U.K. out of the European Union.
Thursday's jump came as the pound fell to $1.3172, down from $1.3223 late Wednesday in New York, as traders fretted about a lack of progress in divorce talks with the EU.
What strategists are saying: "The bullish move was achieved for the wrong reasons, as the dip in the pound on the back of the stalled Brexit talks helped the British index," said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, in a note.
Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, said Thursday that not enough progress had been made (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/brexit-negotiator-says-uk-and-eu-have-reached-a-stalemate-in-talks-2017-10-12) to recommend talks move on to the future trade relationship between the EU and U.K.
A weaker pound can boost the FTSE 100, as many of the index's multinational companies make most of their sales in foreign currencies.
Stock movers: Sky PLC's stock (SKY.LN) was among the notable gainers, rising 1.4%. On Thursday, Europe's biggest pay-TV company posted an 11% gain in a key profit metric for the first quarter of fiscal 2018. Sky said new subscriptions were up 51% on the year and it is on track to meet its full-year targets (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sky-earnings-up-on-51-rise-in-new-subscriptions-2017-10-12).
Sky's update "suggests things remain pretty hard in ad land, but "these were pretty solid results," said Neil Wilson, a senior market analyst at ETX Capital, in a note.
Standard Chartered PLC's stock (STAN.LN) was among the biggest decliners, falling 0.9%. In a rare move (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/imf-names-9-biggest-banks-that-warrant-heightened-attention-from-regulators-2017-10-11), the International Monetary Fund, in its twice-yearly Global Financial Stability Report, said the Asia-focused bank has a "weak earnings" outlook. Credit Suisse analysts also have warned the lender's current valuation is too generous.
Weekly and monthly performance: The FTSE 100 is up 0.4% for the week and showing an October gain of 2.5%. It closed down less than 0.1% on Wednesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-in-holding-pattern-with-record-high-in-sight-2017-10-11).
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 12, 2017 12:15 ET (16:15 GMT)