Another day, another wait for traders hoping to actually tell the UK and EU whether a last-minute compromise can be struck or if their future consists of Brexit no-deal tariffs.
Investors were cautious ahead of critical talks scheduled for Wednesday night in Brussels, sending the FTSE 100 to 6,564.29. by just 5.47 points, or 0.1 percent.
Sterling displayed a little more bravery, rising to 1.339 against the dollar by 0.26 percent. It also climbed 0.47 percent against the euro as markets closed at 1.109 for the day.
Neil Wilson, Markets.com financial analyst, said, “No one is prepared to take a decisive position so far, and the cable continues to hover around the 1.33-34 range” (against the dollar).
This just illustrates that traders assume that all results – deal or no-deal – are still very much in play. We’re waiting tonight for signals from Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen’s dinner.
In Europe, in Paris, the CAC 40 closed down 0.3 percent, while the DAX 30 in Frankfurt increased 0.5 percent.
In corporate news, after regulators approved the sale of the company for £ 8 billion, Tesco announced it would eventually divest its Asian arm.
The contract means that in February the supermarket would be able to pay a special dividend of £ 5 billion. Shares closed up 2p at 226.5p.
Cigarette giant British American Tobacco said it assumed that after South Africa ended a ban on cigarette sales early, the pandemic would strike it less hard than previously thought.
Compared to previous forecasts of 3 percent, Covid-19 is now projected to fall just 2.5 percent. Shares closed 7p higher at 2,909p.
Owing to the move to home work during the coronavirus pandemic, the manager of bus group Stagecoach has warned that individuals would travel permanently less, while the group announced that profits have fallen by more than 90%.
Chief Executive Martin Griffiths said that since the recession, Covid-19 will continue to see individuals travel less, as the five-day office workweek becomes a matter of history.
But he said he was “optimistic” that as people drove less and less, the market for bus travel would pick up.
Stagecoach shareholders did not seem troubled by a 90 percent decline in bus company earnings and clung to Mr. Griffiths’ promising future. Shares closed at 78.65 pence to 4.7 pence.
In contrast, for the second time in as many months, car dealer Marshall Motor announced a profit boost as demand for cars continued to increase.
At 145 pence, the shares closed down 11.5 pence.
The biggest gainers on the FTSE 100 were Just Eat Takeaway, up 552 pence at 8,084 pence, Kingfisher, up 10.4 pence at 273.9 pence, DCC, up 190 pence at 5,626 pence, Ocado, up 76 pence at 2,326 pence, and BT, up 4.2 pence at 138.3 pence.
The main losers were CRH, 104 pence down at 2,990 pence, Polymetal, 40.5 pence down at 1,659.5 pence, Smurfit Kappa, 76 pence down at 3,374 pence, 3i, 22.5 pence down at 1,138 pence, and Hikma, 46 pence down at 2,479 pence.