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FTSE a touch higher despite NMC plunge

UK firms with a strong focus on the domestic market are recovering this morning in the absence of negative Brexit headlines. A slight recovery in the pound is also helping the likes of British Land, Auto Trader Group and BT but volumes are beginning to show signs of a pre-holiday slowdown.

The main drag on the FTSE is Abu Dhabi- based NMC Health which has lost over 8% this morning after research firm Muddy Waters, famous for its short positions, released a negative comment about the health operator. Although NMC Health refuted the comments and reiterated its guidance the firm was not able to halt the share sell off. Ironically, the company’s shares have been fairly stable since August this year when again a tweet by Muddy Waters caused prices to plunge ahead of half-year results.

Sterling firms as impeachment hits dollar

Sterling has recovered from a dip against the dollar late yesterday but most of the work was done by the dollar, not the pound, as the greenback weakened against most major currencies following the House vote to impeach President Trump. The dent in the dollar is relatively small because the though the House vote is big news the actual impeachment is unlikely to come to pass as the Senate would have to agree to it with a two thirds majority. This morning the pound has nudged up 0.16% against the dollar and after a brief spike against the euro returned to almost flat against the common currency.

Later today seven out of the nine Bank of England Monetary Committee members are expected to vote in favour of keeping UK rates unchanged, but the tone on future rates may start changing given the weaker labour market, softer house prices and slow retail sales growth.

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