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Pound hits six-week high of $1.16; US tech stocks sink

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FTSE 100 closes up 43 points to 7,056 : FTSE evening wrap

The FTSE 100 index closed up 43 points to 7,056 on the day Rishi Sunak made his debut at PMQs. The gains were led by healthcare and basic materials stocks, up 1.9% and 2.7% respectively. Utilities stocks fell 0.4%, while consumer staples fell 0.9%.

Outside the FTSE 100, the pound reclaimed a six-week high of $1.16, while plummeted to a market cap of just £2 million after it said it had paused customer orders after failing to find a rescue buyer. Last year, the firm’s market cap was as much as £800 million.

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “In the UK political kitchen, the cast of the latest series of the Great British Reshuffle has been assembled, ready to start cooking up their latest policies. Jeremy Hunt, the continuity candidate at the Treasury, is desperate for some dough to rise but recognises the risks of upsetting the bond market judges by not crossing out enough on his shopping list. Spending cuts are expected to be high on his page of ingredients for a more stable financial environment but that won’t help the head chef, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, in the popularity stakes.

“The heat in the kitchen could rise again, as daunting problems are scrawled large on the board, not least the looming recession and smouldering issues such as acute labour shortages and the struggles with Europe. Recipes for growth will be hard to follow without the workers to propel productivity or a reduction of trade red tape. But with the immigration and Brexit hard-liner, Suella Braverman, back in her seat at the Home Office, there are unlikely to be any quick solutions plated up.”


Pound reclaims $1.16 to reach six-week high

The pound has reclaimed $1.16 to reach a six-week high after plunging to historic lows following the announcement of the disastrous mini-Budget in September, as markets were calmed by the arrival of Rishi Sunak in Downing Street.

Matthew Ryan, Head of Market Strategy at global financial services firm Ebury, said: “At 42 years old, Sunak is one of the youngest Prime Ministers to ever set foot in number 10, though markets still see him as a fairly steady pair of hands, particularly when it comes to stabilising the UK economy.

“Sunak’s leadership credentials are yet to really be tested, but investors seem to be of the view that his largely encouraging stint as chancellor should stand him in good stead. This has partly helped lift the pound back.”


Nasdaq tumbles as tech earnings stoke recession fears

The Nasdaq fell more than 2% in the opening minutes of trading in New York after disappointing earnings from Google and Microsoft stoked fears of a global slowdown in growth.

Google’s shares fell 7.5% after earnings figures last night showed a severe fall off at its core search ad business, something likely to hit rivals before long.Microsoft shares fell 7%.

The S&P 500 index fell 0.9%, while the Dow fell 0.3%.


US goods trading deficit widens

The US goods trade deficit widened in September as exports fell and imports rose.

The deficit went up by 5.7% to$92.2 billion, according to the US Commerce Department, led by a $2.8 billion drop in exports.


Pound at $1.1577

The pound went up slightly to $1.1577 as Rishi Sunak completed his first outing at PMQs. Sterling is up around 1% against the dollar since yesterday, and has also made gains against the euro.

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Early rewards have come with the sharp rise in the pound, back up to six-week highs earlier today, but sterling was also given a leg-up by a slightly weaker dollar, amid expectations that the Fed won’t go so hard and fast with rate rises with given the record slowdown in house prices.

“Investors are mindful that it was the unnecessary rush to announce big tax cuts which caused such tumultuous times for the Truss administration and what they crave now is caution and stability. The premium slammed on UK assets by reckless policies of his predecessor appears to be slowly lifting, but hefty challenges for team Sunak remain, as the economy heads into recession and the productivity puzzle remains as cryptic as ever to solve.’’


Starmer grills Sunak over levelling up funding

Rishi Sunak is asked about a recording which surfaced during his first leadership bid in which he appeared to talk of funding being taken from deprived areas and given to more affluent ones.

He responds by saying that he will be a prime minister for the whole country and that he is “honest” about the challenges facing the country.

He said: “He mentioned the last few weeks. I am the first to admit that mistakes were made and that’s the reason I’m standing here.

“But that’s the difference between him and me. This summer, I was honest, I was talking about the difficulties we were facing. But when he ran for leader, he promised his party he would borrow billions and billions of pounds.

“I told the truth for the good of the country, he told his party what it wanted to hear.”


Sunak: I will focus on energy security

Responding to his first question as PM, Mr Sunak did not repeat a vow to ban on-shore wind farms, saying that he would focus on long-term energy supply, including renewable energy, and nuclear power.


Rishi Sunak leaves No10 ahead of PMQs

Rishi Sunak has left 10 Downing Street following his first Cabinet meeting as Prime Minister, ahead of Prime Minister’s Questions.

Mr Sunak walked out of the front door and did not respond to calls from reporters before entering a waiting Range Rover.

The Prime Minister then left Downing Street with a police escort.


Jeremy Hunt delays Oct 31 fiscal statement

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has delayed next Monday’s critical ‘Budget’ as he raced to thrash out the final details of his plan to restore the public finances with new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The Chancellor updated the Cabinet on the timing of the fiscal event. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor agreed that the fiscal event would now take place on the November 17, and would be an Autumn Statement.

Mr Hunt had been expected to set out his ‘Medium Term Fiscal Plan’ on October 31 in a bid to rebuild confidence in the Government’s handling of the economy, after Liz Truss’s disastrous mini-budget on September 23.

But with Mr Sunak only taking office on Tuesday, the Chancellor announced on Wednesday morning the fiscal event will now be pushed back to give the Prime Minister more time to consider proposed spending cuts and tax rises aimed at plugging a £30-£40billion black hole in the Government’s finances.


FTSE 100 biggest movers

Four hours into the trading session in London this morning, the FTSE 100 is down 30 points to 6,984.

Here’s a look at some of the biggest movers of the morning.

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