Monday, Dec 18


U.K. stocks erased earlier losses to close higher on Friday, boosted by a slide in the pound after EU leaders agreed to move on to the second phase of Brexit talks, but warned the coming negotiations will be difficult. 
The market had opened in negative territory, keying off Thursday’s losses in the U.S. where worries about progress for tax cuts zapped the investment mood. The FTSE 100 index rose 0.6% to end at 7,490.57, propelling the benchmark to a 1.3% weekly gain. The index has risen 4.9% year-to-date. The pound tumbled to $1.3317, down from $1.3430 late Thursday in New York. Against the euro, the pound traded hands at €1.1308 compared with $1.1403 on Thursday. A weaker sterling tends to give the FTSE 100 a boost as about 75% of revenues for the index’s components is made overseas. The 10-year gilt yield fell 2 basis points to 1.15%, according to Tradeweb. Yields fall when prices rise. The pound was slammed after EU leaders at a summit in Brussels determined that sufficient progress in Brexit negotiations has been made in recent months to move talks on to trade and the transition period.