Britain's FTSE dips as pound rises on Brexit breakthrough

By ReutersMarketsReuters

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LONDON, Dec 8 (Reuters) - UK shares edged slightly lower on Friday as the pound gently rose against the dollar after the European Commission said enough progress had been made in Brexit negotiations with Britain to allow a second phase of talks.

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The blue chip FTSE 100 index was down 0.1 percent at 0820 GMT while the pan-European STOXX rose 0.7 percent and all bourses across the continent were trading in postive territory.

After an initial muted response against the dollar on the announcement of the Brexit breakthrough, sterling gradually rose, adding 0.23 percent against the U.S. currency and putting pressure on blue chips.

The fall in sterling since the June 2016 Brexit vote has given an accounting boost to UK blue chips with revenues in dollars, and a weak pound typically supports the FTSE.

British housebuilder Berkeley was the top gainer of the index after it announced a 36 percent rise in first half profits.

Other UK builders, which have suffered on fears Brexit would hurt the sector, were also rising.

Persimmon added 2.6 percent, Barratt Developments 2.9 percent and Taylor Wimpey 2.5 percent.

Financials also provided support after new global banking regulations, seen as kinder to European banks than feared, were adopted.

Lloyds rose 3 percent and Barclays 2 percent.

(Reporting by Julien Ponthus; Editing by Georgina Prodhan)