Shares in property company Hansteen Holdings are at a decade high after the company agreed to sell a €1.28bn portfolio of German and Dutch buildings on Monday.
The company closed at 123p - a price it hadn’t seen since 2007 - as investors looked favourably on its decision to exit its European arms, which it sold to Blackstone and property company M7 Real Estate.
Hansteen will now concentrate on its warehousing property in the UK, which has seen huge gains in recent months thanks to a boom in internet retailers needing space and a lack of supply. The company will report its full year results today.
Both the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 closed at record highs on Monday. The FTSE 100 closed at 7,429.81, up 0.07pc on the day having climbed steadily after an initial fall this morning. Meanwhile, the FTSE 250 finished Monday at 19,151.80, 0.3pc higher.
Private equity group 3i led the FTSE 100, with its shares up 1.8pc to 734p. The company was boosted by the launch of a new North American business, headed up by former Hastings Funds Management boss Rob Collins., which will focus on infrastructure investment.
Shares in Sainsbury’s finished at their highest price since May, at 274.30, up 1.71pc on the day, as a positive trading statement last week continued to improve its performance.
Broker research drove performance in an otherwise fairly quiet day. Buy notes from Citi and RBC drove steel firm Evraz and Super Group to the top of the FTSE 250 index, up 6pc to 231.5p and 4.06pc to £15.38 respectively, while Associated British Foods also had a good day, up 1.64pc to £26.59 after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to buy.
However, ongoing weakness in the price of oil, which narrowly avoided dropped below $51 a barrel during trading, weighed on some stocks. “The fall comes despite dollar weakness and, we believe, is a reflection of ongoing concerns about OPEC’s ability to control oil prices, as US shale producers expand to fill the gap left by the cartel’s production cut,” said Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. BP slid 0.41pc to 461.1p, and Shell was down 0.33pc to £21.16.
Nostrum Oil & Gas led the FTSE 250 laggers, down 5.81pc to 442.6p.
Monday was a turbulent day for sterling: having started the day strongly against the dollar, the currency lost its gains during the afternoon after prime minister Theresa May announced that she would trigger Article 50 next week, formally starting the process to leave the European Union. The pound had been as high as $1.2438 this morning, a three week high, but sunk to around $1.2350 by the time the UK markets closed.
See how the day unfolded below.
FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 close on record highs
The FTSE 100 has closed at 7,429.81, a new record high, up 0.07pc on the day having climbed steadily after in initial fall this morning.
Meanwhile, the FTSE 250 finished Monday at 19,151.80, 0.3pc higher.
Pound continues to dip lower
The pound is now trading at $1.2344, a drop of 0.4pc today, after a strong morning. The drop was triggered by the announcement that prime minister Theresa May would trigger Article 50 next week, formally starting the process to leave the European Union.
It had been as low as $1.2338 this afternoon.
While Morgan Stanley doesn’t expect the decision to come as a shock for markets and favours buying sterling with a target of $1.2900, Goldman Sachs said the negotiations had not been taken into account.
Analyst Michael Cahill said: "We think the imminent activation of Article 50 will trigger difficult trade negotiations, which is not properly priced into the currency. Short sterling remains one of our favorite views.”
BoE report says more needs to be done to protect policyholders
More needs to be done to make sure people are protected when taking out insurance policies, a report from the Bank of England has suggested, with deputy governor of the Bank of England Sam Woods saying insurers are responsible for the oldest and most vulnerable in society.
The BoE's Independent Evaluation Office, an independent unit within the Bank, said in a report on Monday that the Prudential Regulation Authority's "articulation of its policyholder protection responsibilities appears to be unfinished business".
Anthony Habgood, chairman of the Bank's Court, said that the PRA - which regulates around 600 UK insurers - seems to have "been somewhat crowded out by live supervisory issues" when it comes to policyholder protection.
Lucy Burton has the full story
Oil price slides
The price of oil is down 28 cents to $51.48 a barrel at the moment as confidence in OPEC's ability to control oil prices wanes.
Oil giants BP and Shell were among the FTSE 100’s top fallers this morning.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, writing from Washington DC, says Opec and Russia risk a lost decade as the shale revolution spreads.
US markets open lower
Wall Street seems to have made a cautious start of the week following a meeting of the G20 over the weekend which cemented the US's protectionist stance, as well as a dipping oil price.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 15 points or 0.07pc on opening, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were also both slightly down.
Here's what to expect from tomorrow's inflation numbers
Our economics correspondent Tim Wallace writes:
Inflation is on the way up thanks to the fall in sterling since the EU referendum - a weaker pound makes imports more expensive, and that hits shoppers in the pocket.
Tomorrow’s inflation numbers, published at 9.30am by the Office for National Statistics, will show exactly how much prices have risen in the past 12 months.
Economists predict inflation rose to 2.1pc in the year to February, up from 1.8pc in the 12 months to January and the highest level since late 2013.
Given wage growth slowed down over the same period from 2.6pc to 2.3pc, this is a serious threat to living standards.
Economists fear that the higher cost of living could also dent the wider economy, which has been driven in recent months by confident households spending more.
Dip in the pound could just be a knee jerk reaction
Kathleen Brooks of City Index said the negotiations around Brexit are not the pound's biggest problem, after sterling fell to session lows this morning.
In fairness, we think that today’s dip in the pound is just a knee-jerk reaction to the Article 50 news, and part of sterling’s decline is also due to the recovery in the dollar and US Treasury yields, 10-year yields are back above 2.5pc.
It is worth watching how the pound performs in the next day or two, if GBPUSD can find support ahead of 1.2350 – a key short-term support level – and recoup today’s losses then it would be a bullish signal for GBP for this reason: the pound is failing to react to “bad news”.
Last week the pound actually rallied although the Scottish leader said she will hold a second independence referendum, this is significant as markets that don’t fall on what is perceived as bad news can often rally in the aftermath.
She goes on to say that retail sales data on Thursday and an expected rise in UK inflation tomorrow are a biggest risk to currency in the short term.
European markets down at lunchtime
Here's an update on the markets at lunchtime.
The FTSE 100 is down 0.09pc at 7,418.59, while the FTSE 250 down 0.02pc at 19,090.45. Both seem to have been dragged lower by the weakening dollar, which has pushed the pound up, Henry Croft, analyst at Accendo Markets said:
Equity markets are making a negative start to the week as a significant dearth of macroeconomic and corporate news is leaving investors with a lack of drivers, while the confirmation that Article 50 will be triggered on 29 March is being met with a muted response. The US dollar, whilst off its five-week lows, remains weak, which is hindering both the UK's FTSE and Germany's DAX in the form of translational GBP and EUR strength.
The Dax is down 0.29pc to 12,060.45, pulled down by Deutsche Bank which slid 3pc this morning after it reported another year of loss.
In France, the CAC is down 0.31pc at 5,013.82.
Bad news for Deutsche Bank bonuses as the firm slumps to another loss
The German bank has slashed its bonus pool by more than three-quarters, paying just €500m in bonuses last year, down 77pc from its €2.4bn pot in 2015.
Overall, total compensation at Deutsche fell from €10.5bn to €8.9bn last year, after the lender slumped to a €1.4bn net loss in 2016 as its woes mounted.
Boss John Cryan is trying to reduce costs as part of an overhaul of Deutsche Bank's performance after years of problems.
Read the full story by banking correspondent Ben Martin here.
Pound dips on Article 50 news
The pound has slipped back from its early rally this morning, and is now trading at $1.2384 after prime minister Theresa May announces she will trigger Article 50 on March 29.
It took about half an hour for the markets to react, but the pound has reversed its strong morning against the dollar.
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Irish banks have largely recovered from the financial crisis, S&P report says
Good news for Ireland's banking sector, which according to credit ratings agency S&P has almost completely recovered from the financial crisis of 2008-2011.
The report, released this morning, said:
We now believe that the robustness of the banks’ capital and liquidity profiles is both satisfactory and resilient. Furthermore, excluding a large negative exceptional item in relation to deleveraging costs in one case, all six rated banks are profitable for the first time since 2007.
Vodafone shares fall back after initial spike on merger news
Vodafone's shares are trading slightly down at 210.75p, having spiked to 214p this morning after the company announced that it had merged its Indian business with rival mobile operator Idea Cellular to create one of the world’s largest telecoms operators.
The combined company will have a value of around £19bn and looks set to be the biggest telecoms operator in India.
Sam Dean has the full story here.
Pound hits 20-day high against the dollar
The pound was trading up 0.36pc against the dollar at $1.2438 this morning, its highest price since the beginning of the month, as the US currency continued to slide after last week's rates decision.
The value of the dollar has been hit by talks in recent days at the meeting of the G20 which confirmed the US government’s protectionist stance.
Sterling's strong performance is also being buoyed by the prospect of UK inflation hitting 2.1pc when the latest data is released tomorrow.
Added to that, the prospect of the Bank of England raising interest rates by 0.25pc by September 2018 looks more likely than ever. Kristin Forbes, a member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, explained why she voted to hike rates here.
Against the euro, the pound was relatively unchanged at €1.1542, 0.07pc higher.