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Sterling volatile amid Brexit deal talks

London Stock ExchangeSterling jumped by more than a cent to reach an eight-day high against the dollar as reports in Germany suggested the European Union could offer Britain a two-year transitional Brexit deal.

Earlier the pound had fell sharply after the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said negotiations about the UK’s divorce payment had become deadlocked.

That forced the pound to fall to $1.3122, but after a report in the German Handelsblatt newspaper it rebounded to reach $1.3267, a rise of 0.3%.

The fall in the sterling had led to a rise in the FTSE 100 to a record high of 7,556.24 points.

The index often benefits from a fall in sterling, as a weaker currency increases the value of companies’ overseas earnings when they are brought back to the UK and converted back into pounds.

Asset manager St James Place led index gains on the day, up 4.1% after a supportive note from analysts at JP Morgan.

Budget airline easyJet was up 2.5% after German peer Lufthansa said it would sign a deal to buy part of insolvent carrier Air Berlin, adding to signs of consolidation in the industry and prompting a potential complaint from Ryanair which said it would refer the deal to the European Union competition authorities.

Energy suppliers Centrica and SSE fell in early trade following publication of a draft bill to cap energy prices.

But there were few details on how it would operate and both companies’ stocks rose 1.9% and 2.5% respectively.

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