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FTSE falters as Brexit hopes lift pound, offsetting good trade signals

FTSE falters as Brexit hopes lift pound, offsetting good trade signals
Traders looks at financial information on computer screens on the IG Index trading floor in London, Britain February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/Files -
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(Reuters) – Britain’s exporter-heavy FTSE 100 lagged a trade sentiment-induced rally in global stocks on Friday, as hopes that a Brexit deal may be clinched by the end of the month lifted the pound and hit international firms.

The blue-chip index <.FTSE> shed 0.4% with exporter stocks such as Diageo <DGE.L> and Unilever <ULVR.L> dragging the most, as sterling firmed after Ireland sounded optimism on the chances of Britain leaving the European Union in an orderly fashion. The mid-cap FTSE 250 <.FTMC> added 0.3% by 0702 GMT.

The index lagged the broader European benchmark <.STOXX>, which rose after U.S. President Donald Trump stirred hopes of a trade agreement with China, calling the first day of talks “very good”.

The main index was also hurt by a near 4% drop in ad firm WPP <WPP.L> after French rival Publicis <PUBP.PA> cut its sales view for the second time, and a 3.4% fall in luxury brand Burberry <BRBY.L> after German rival Hugo Boss <BOSSn.DE> cut its annual forecast.

(Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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