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Sterling rises on Brexit hopes ahead of Davos

London Stock ExchangeSterling has hit its highest level against the dollar since the Brexit vote, just over $1.40 for the first time in 19 months and is now higher than some pre-Brexit vote levels.

It has risen on renewed optimism on Brexit after French President Emmanuel Macron boosted hopes of a bespoke trade deal for the UK.

Progress on Brexit comes as the political and business elite gather in Davos for the World Economic Forum. Theresa May, Mark Carney and Donald Trump are all appearing at the four-day summit.

There was also better news from the US as Congress reached a deal to end deadlock which has shutdown the government and helped send Wall Street to fresh record highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.5% to 26,209.2, while the S&P 500 rose 0.8% to 2,832.9, while the Nasdaq added almost 1% to 7,408.

In London, shares were held back on stronger sterling, while gambling companies suffered double-digit falls over reports of a government clampdown on fixed-odds betting terminals.

Shares in William Hill and Ladbrokes fell 11.6% and 7.9% respectively on reported plans to lower the limit on betting shop terminals from £100 to £2. the bottom end of the expected range.

The FTSE 100 closed 0.3% lower at 7,708.82.


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