Market opens as normal following Queen's death but trading subdued: MPC meeting postponed

The London Stock Exchange was open and trading as normal today following the Queen's death, though activity was subdued.

The Exchange, which began trading at 8am, confirmed that the session would also “close at the normal times” on Friday afternoon.

Trading will continue at the usual times during the period of national mourning. The Exchange did say, however, it will close if a public or bank holiday is announced.

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Meanwhile, the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee is postponing next week’s meeting and interest rate decision for one week, to September 22.

The London Stock Exchange was open and began trading as normal at 8am. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images
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Company announcements on the regulatory news service were light as they typically are on a Friday, though online fashion group Asos cautioned over profits after sales fell below expectation in August as consumers tightened their belts in response to rising bills.

Currency trading began strongly on Friday morning, with the pound rising by 0.9 per cent to $1.159 against the dollar, slightly arresting its recent tumble, which saw the UK currency hit 37-year lows on Wednesday.

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Stockbroker Shore Capital Markets said that as a mark of respect it would not be publishing company research on Friday morning.

It added: “Shore Capital is deeply saddened by the passing of HM The Queen, Elizabeth II. We send our deepest sympathy and sincere condolences to The Queen’s family and we share the sense of loss to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of the loss of one of the world’s most gracious, special and committed servants.”

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In mid-afternoon trading, the benchmark FTSE-100 Index was trading some 113 points or 1.6 per cent higher at around 7,375 amid the prospect of cooling inflation rates. The FTSE-250 was up about 240 points or 1.3 per cent at 19,119.

Most companies were expected to continue operations as normal on Friday. However, historic department store chain Selfridges said it would shut its doors on Friday as it led business tributes to the Queen. It said that it intends to reopen stores on Saturday with their usual opening hours.

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Planned strikes by rail and postal workers have been called off as a result of the Queen’s death.

Tributes continued to come in from the business world.

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Former Standard Life chief executive Sir Sandy Crombie said: “My main memory of the Queen was when she came for the official opening of Standard Life’s new offices in Tanfield in Edinburgh in 1992. It was a very wet day and the Queen’s expression on arrival seemed to reflect both the weather and the fact that she was faced by yet another line of men in suits.

“Her expression, and I guess her mood, seemed to change dramatically for the better when she was presented with a bouquet of flowers, along with the explanation that the flowers had been chosen to represent the various countries in which Standard Life did business - Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales and Canada. It was a small thing, but she was animated in conversation and obviously appreciated it.”

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Ed McCann, president of the Institution of Civil Engineers, said: “Her Majesty has been a reassuring constant in a fast-changing world where most of us have known her as our only sovereign. I know I speak for many thousands of civil engineers around the world when I pay tribute to her extraordinary contribution.”

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A nation’s profound loss and sadness

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