London Markets: British pound flirts with $1.30 as FTSE 100 stumbles

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The British pound on Tuesday flirted with the $1.30 level, with the U.K. currency strengthening on optimism the ruling Conservative party will secure a majority in the general election on December 12.

The pound GBPUSD, +0.4250%  traded as high as $1.3009 from $1.2941 on Monday.

The latest polls show the Conservatives winning, though the margin varies widely. One poll from Kantar ending Dec. 2 has the Conservatives with a 12-percentage point lead, while another from ICM ending on the same date has the Conservative margin over the Labour party at 7 points.

Sterling has moved largely in lock step with Conservative’s election chances since Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed an exit pact with the European Union that needs a majority in the U.K. Parliament for passage.

The FTSE 100 UKX, -2.04%  meanwhile skidded 1.61% to 7168.36, with only a handful of companies advancing. Trump’s latest salvo on Chinese trade talks hit stocks worldwide, including Russia steelmaker Evraz EVR, -7.53%   and Swiss commodities broker Glencore GLEN, -4.04%  falling sharply on the London Stock Exchange.

Rightmove RMV, -0.16%  rose after a Goldman Sachs upgrade to neutral, on hopes for a better economic outlook, and Diageo DGE, -0.22%  rose after an RBC Capital Markets upgrade to outperform.

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