/London Markets: British pound falls as attention turns to EU and possible Brexit extension

London Markets: British pound falls as attention turns to EU and possible Brexit extension


Canadian Press via Associated Press

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, second from left, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, President of France Emmanuel Macron, second from right, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in August. Macron reportedly wants only a short extension to a Brexit deadline.

The British pound weakened as markets awaited the European Union’s decision on whether to grant an extension to the U.K. to leaving the bloc.

The pound

GBPUSD, -0.7821%

  fell to $1.2833 from $1.2914 as the Times reported the EU will grant a second extension on Friday. The issue is the length of the extension, with the newspaper saying French President Emmanuel Macron only wants a two-week extension, and not until Jan. 31 as many had thought.

Meanwhile, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson could make a third attempt to trigger a general election.

The FTSE 100

UKX, +0.91%

 meanwhile gained 0.91% to 7236.81, buoyed in particular by stronger-than-forecast earnings from AstraZeneca

AZN, +5.55%

AZN, +5.19%

 , which rose 5.7%.

Breadth was overwhelmingly positive on the London Stock Exchange, with advancers outnumbering decliners 1507 to 870.

The Royal Bank of Scotland

RBS, -3.34%

RBS, -5.02%

 struggled, falling 3.1% as the bank reported a swing to a third-quarter loss due to a provision to cover payment protection insurance costs.

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