Tuesday market close: Sterling’s fall helps Footsie gain ground

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The pound lost ground, falling to seven-year lows against the euro ahead of the Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole conference tomorrow.

Sterling temporarily tumbled to €1.089 versus the eurozone currency in afternoon trading, hitting its lowest level since 2010, before rising back above €1.09. Against the dollar, the pound was at its weakest point in nearly four weeks, down 0.5 per cent at $1.283.

Rival currencies were rising as investors prepared for speeches from the heads of the European Central Bank and US Federal Reserve at the Jackson Hole symposium in Wyoming later this week.

The weaker pound helped push the FTSE 100 up 0.86 per cent or 62.86 points to 7,381.74.

In UK stocks, Persimmon shares rose 45p to 2,601p as the housebuilder reported a 30 per cent rise in half-year pre-tax profits.

BHP Billiton rose 28.5p to 1,394.5p after swinging to a full-year operating profit equivalent to £9.2 billion, and announcing that it was offloading its US shale business.

Wood Group fell 2.5p to 572p after results showed a 77 per cent fall in pre-tax half-year profit amid challenging market conditions for its North Sea business.

Shares in Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct slumped 9.7p to 397p amid news the retailer had again upped its stake in Debenhams, to 21 per cent.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 included Tesco up 7.25p at 184.2p, Shire up 112p at 3,725p and Rio Tinto up 84p at 3,539.5p.

The biggest fallers included Admiral Group down 22p at 1,970p, ITV down 1.2p to 165.7p, and G4S down 1.4p to 294.5p.

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