PM Theresa May has given herself until the end of TODAY to seal a deal over Ireland

MARKETS LIVE: FTSE and pound flat

PM Theresa May has given herself until the end of TODAY to seal a deal over Ireland

PM Theresa May has given herself until the end of TODAY to seal a deal over Ireland

09:41
Here’s some expert comment

Connor Campbell at Spreadex said: ‘Sterling is perhaps facing the acutest issues, with Michel Barnier stating that the UK has 48 hours to agree on a potential deal to ensure talks can move on to the next stage.

‘It hasn’t been a great week for the government, with Brexit bungles galore – take your pick from David Davis’ admission that there hasn’t been any sector-by-sector impact assessment, or the DUP Irish border blockade, or Philip Hammond stating the Cabinet is yet to discuss the ‘end state position’ for the UK after it leaves the EU – undermining the pound.

‘At the moment cable is stuck the wrong side of $1.338, its worst price in over a week, while against the euro sterling has slipped under €1.135; that it hasn’t fallen further in the face of Barnier’s comments does, however, suggest a certain amount of resilience from the currency.

‘As for the FTSE, the index is up 0.2 per cent, once again sneaking above the 7350 mark it has kept returning to in the last few sessions.’

09:29
Another big day for Theresa May, Ireland and Brexit

The EU fears Theresa May could be toppled as soon as next week if there is no deal on the Brexit divorce, it was claimed today.

Fears the Prime Minister could be replaced by a hard-line Brexiteer have prompted EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to insist he is ready to meet the parties at any time.

The impasse over how to solve the Irish border after Brexit showed little line of easing today, days after DUP leader Arlene Foster dramatically halted the talks.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar last night said he expected to see a new draft of the proposed divorce deal today.

But DUP sources vowed to the Sun: ‘We’re going to slow it all down. This is a battle of who blinks first – and we’ve cut off our eyelids.’

If no agreement is reached in time for a summit next week, the next opportunity for talks will be March.

09:10
Plenty of company news out there ……….

Gambling giant Ladbrokes Coral said it is in ‘detailed’ talks over a takeover by online rival GVC in a potential deal valuing the group at up to £3.9billion.

Insurer Legal & General has said it is on course for a record year of profits, driven by what it called ‘formidable momentum’ in its core business divisions.

The group pointed to areas such as its retirement unit, which has delivered total sales of £6.2billion in the year to date, thanks to strong performances in the UK and US pension markets.

In retail, L&G said it has ‘significantly outperformed the market’, with UK individual annuity premiums up 93 per cent, equivalent to a 14 per cent market share.

Elsewhere RELX is to buy-back up to £100million in shares between January to mid-February to reduce capital.

DS Smith is c onfident about outlook, first half exceeded medium term targets, as it raises dividend.

HSS Hire offers new 2020 targets; focus on deleverage, repair tool hire business, strengthen commercial position.

CRH, the Irish building materials giant, has pulled out of bidding for the South Africa cement-maker PPC.

CRH, which is the world’s third-largest building materials supplier by market value, made a bid for the company in November.

However, PPC said: ‘CRH has decided not to submit an updated expression of interest and therefore considers it appropriate to withdraw from the independent board’s process.’

08:53
FTSE 100 up just 18 points at 7,366.1

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