London shares open almost 1% higher



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Shares in London have opened almost 1% higher and the pound has made some modest gains – but it remains around a 31-year low.

The 100 share index was up 56.39 in early trading to 6,519.98.

The pound rose 0.22% against the dollar to $1.2959 and was 0.32% higher against the euro at €1.1684.

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Shares in Marks and Spencer were down 2% after it reported a steep fall in sales.

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In a busy company announcement session, AB Foods, owners of Primark, saw shares rise 6% to be the biggest gainer on the FTSE. It said it was sticking to plans to expand its Primark chain across Europe and the US, and was optimistic about continued growth despite uncertainty created by Brexit.

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Sports Direct shares rose 11% despite a fall of 15% in annual profits as a result of bad pubicity about working conditions.

Jitters over the fallout from the Brexit vote extended a rally in gold prices.

The precious metal is trading near its highest price in more than two years.

Fed minutes

Late on Wednesday, the latest Federal Reserve minutes were released, showing that prospects of an interest rate hike have diminished.

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The US central bank’s last meeting in June took place before the UK’s EU referendum.

However policymakers were concerned the vote would heighten global market uncertainty and potentially hurt the US economic outlook.

They were also worried about a possible slowdown in the US labour market following weaker-than-expected payroll data.


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