Brexit fears smash sterling

Equity markets across Europe have continued heading higher as US traders have added to the momentum.

David Cameron
Source: Bloomberg

David Cameron’s good mood will have quickly disappeared, having returned from Europe with a deal he hoped would set the course for the UK to elect to stay in the EU come the 23 June.

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has stolen his thunder with the announcement he will throw his weight behind the better-out campaign. The IG Brexit binary saw a flurry of activity in the morning session before settling down to suggest a 62% chance that Britain will remain in the EU.

The consequence of all of this has been a day where sterling has been smashed. By midday, sterling was down against every major currency and by 4pm UK time, was down over 250 pips against the dollar.

In contrast to the underperformance from sterling, the FTSE 100 has started the week in strong fashion, enjoying the boost that rising commodity prices has afforded the mining and energy stocks.

With iron ore back above $50 a tonne and both WTI and Brent substantially higher, the likes of Anglo American, Glencore, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Antofagasta have dominated the list of best performing equities.

Fortuitously for HSBC, there have been so many other issues to digest that the focus has hardly been on its poor annual figures. The negatives from its exposure to Asia giving a clear indication as to why it has decided to keep its primary headquarters in the capital.

One slightly sour note for traders has been the disappointing manufacturing and services data that has come out across the eurozone, with few countries able to post figures in line with expectations. Even optimists will be struggling to see too many signs of a strong recovery which has helped to knock the euro.

Company % change Index points
BP +3.90 +9.54
Royal Dutch Shell +3.46 +8.31
Royal Dutch Shell +3.45 +8.31
Rio Tinto +8.43 +7.65
Glencore +11.82 +6.87


Company % change Index points
HSBC Holdings -0.88 -3.00
Taylor Wimpey -4.74 -1.10
Persimmon -4.32 -1.06
Kingfisher -3.39 -1.06
Next -2.43 -0.98

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