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Pound at five-month high ahead of Brexit showdown in Westminster – live updates

Louis Ashworth
The pound is trading just below $1.30 ahead of MPs' Brexit showdown in Westminster - REUTERS

7:24AM

Agenda: Bumpy day expected for markets ahead of Brexit vote in Westminster

Brexit Minister Steve Barclay in the Commons yesterday Credit: JESSICA TAYLOR/AFP

Good morning. It’s likely to be another bumpy day in markets after the Commons Speaker denied a government request to hold a “yes” or “no” vote on its Brexit deal on Monday evening. 

It followed a decision by MPs on Saturday to withhold approval of Boris Johnson's Brexit deal until it was passed into law. 

Even so, sterling moved past $1.30 for the first time since May yesterday, after bets against the currency fell to a three-month low amidst increasing optimism about a possible Brexit deal. 

5 things to start your day

1) Masterchef and Peaky Blinders maker Endemol Shine is on the brink of a €2bn (£1.7bn) takeover by television company Banijay, in a deal which will give the French a major slice of Britain’s independent production industry.

Endemol Shine’s  joint owners, Disney and the US private equity firm Apollo Global Management, are expected to finalise the deal with Paris-based Banijay in coming days, according to City sources, although that timetable could still change.

2) The fallout from the collapse of Neil Woodford's investment empire continues to spiral after campaigners demanded a “root and branch” investigation by the Treasury into the City watchdog’s handling of his firm's failure amid concerns the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is shirking its responsibilities. 

3) Here’s some news bound to cheer up climate protestors: new research shows that the green energy revolution and cleaner cars have helped cut Britain’s carbon emissions by a third as the economy attempts to wean itself off fossil fuels.

4) The Federation of Small Businesses has opposed a suggestion from the Bank of England’s chief economist that gender pay reporting be extended to companies with over 30 employees.

The FSB said its members “would be faced with a number of practical barriers”, including possible breaches of confidentiality and relatively poor statistical value. 

5) Those thinking shopping isn’t political need to catch up on the story that luxury retailers, including department store Harrods, have kicked off a four-day charm offensive to convince US President Donald Trump to re-think a 25pc tariff on $7.5bn (£5.8bn) of European Union goods.

What happened overnight

Stocks in Asia climbed overnight as positive signs emerged on trade talks.

The pound edged higher as Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to put his Brexit deal to a vote.

The biggest gains in Asia were in South Korea’s equities, seen as a proxy for U.S.-China trade negotiations. Hong Kong had more modest increases, while China was little changed. Japan is closed for a holiday.

US President Donald Trump said China indicated that negotiations over an initial deal are advancing, raising expectations the nations’ leaders could sign an agreement at a meeting next month in Chile.

There was little reaction in the Canadian dollar as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won a second term in national elections with a reduced mandate.

Coming up today

Third quarter results season is getting underway, with the latest numbers from St James’ Place out this morning. Investors will no doubt want to see how the wealth manager is getting on since pulling its £3.6bn mandate from fallen fund manager Neil Woodford in June. It’s also taken a highly public kicking over its obscure fee structure and cancellation of staff incentives. 

Meanwhile, Anglo American shareholders will be keen to see a third quarter production report from the miner today, which is the majority owner of diamond group De Beers. Half year numbers are also due from Premier Inn owner Whitbread. Brexit jitters weighed on bookings earlier in the year, prompting hedge funds to stage a £1.5bn bet against the company in July. 

Interims: Anglo American, St James's Place, Whitbread

Trading statement: Bunzl, McBride, On The Beach, Reckitt Benckiser, Travis Perkins

Economics: Public finances including net borrowing (UK)