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London stock market, pound rise amid general election

written by Bella Palmer

Gains were capped with Wall Street closed for the July 4 Independence Day holiday in the US

London's stock market and the pound rose versus the dollar Thursday as Britons voted in a general election expected to be won by the centre-left and main opposition Labour party.

Eurozone stocks also pushed higher amid political manoeuvring to try and block the far-right National Rally (RN) of Marine Le Pen from gaining power in France's legislative poll on Sunday.

Gains were capped with Wall Street closed for the July 4 Independence Day holiday in the US.

In Britain, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's right-wing Conservatives are forecast to suffer a heavy defeat, which would end 14 years of Tory rule.

Today's UK election looks unlikely to cause too many shockwaves given just how resounding the Labour party victory is expected to be, with markets feeling optimistic over the potential change at Downing Street, according to Scope Markets analyst Joshua Mahony.

Coming off the back of a volatile 14-year stint for the Conservatives party that saw five prime ministers within the past nine-years alone, we are seeing the pound strengthen in expectation of a shift to a stable Labour majority, he added.

In UK company news, shares in British medical equipment maker Smith & Nephew added over 7% after Swedish activist investor Cevian snapped up a 5% stake.

Barclays added 2.8% after the lender agreed to sell its German consumer finance business for an undisclosed amount to Austrian peer BAWAG.

However, elections remained squarely in focus across Europe with France also on the radar.

The euro was boosted by news that over 200 centrist and left-wing candidates had pulled out of this weekend's runoff.

President Emmanuel Macron hopes the moves will avoid splintering the anti-RN vote after the far-right party saw massive gains in the first round.


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