Stocks in London's top-flight index jumped on Monday, helped along by a weaker pound and a strong performance from the mining sector, even as the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, surprised markets, telling MPs the Prime Minister could not bring her withdrawal proposal back for a third vote.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.98% at 7,299.19, and trading at its best level since October, while the pound was down 0.55% against the US dollar at 1.32216 and by 0.53% versus the euro to 1.1674.
“The government now faces the total ruin of its strategy, as a third 'Meaningful Vote' (a term that becomes less meaningful with each vote) is ruled out unless changes are made. But the EU is adamant, it is this deal or nothing, and as a result the PM must now, it seems, ask for long extension,” said IG's Chris Beauchamp.
“The Brexiteers believed that they had won last week, but now they may have lost Brexit entirely, since the longer an extension goes on, the more the chance of Remain increases.”
Theresa May had already been scrambling to get support from the DUP as expectations of another vote on her Brexit deal were tempered after Chancellor Philip Hammond suggested at the weekend that a third attempt to push the bill through the Commons could be delayed or shelved if there was not enough support from MPs.
The Prime Minister was expected to offer fresh guarantees to the DUP on the Irish backstop, along with more funding for Northern Ireland. In other fresh developments, reports indicated that Tory rebels have told May they will only support her Brexit deal if she publicly commits to standing down as prime minister.
Investors were also digesting the latest survey from Rightmove, which showed annual house prices in the UK fell in March as the usual spring boost was overshadowed by Brexit uncertainty. House prices fell 0.8% on the year in March compared to a 0.2% increase in February.
On the month, growth slowed to 0.4% in March from 0.7%the month before. This marks the lowest average monthly rise at this time of year since 2011, and is considerably lower than the 0.9% average over the last seven years.
The survey found that London continued to be the main drag, with prices in the capital down 1.1% on the previous month. Outside London, prices remained more buoyant, with nine out of 11 regions seeing new-to-the-market sellers pricing higher.
Rightmove director and housing market analyst Mile Shipside said: “Buying activity remains cooler than usual, with hesitation as some buyers await a more settled political climate. There's greater resilience the further away you get from the London market, and there's a sound bedrock of demand for the right property at the right price, reinforced by ongoing housing needs combined with cheap mortgage borrowing.
“London and some of its commuter belt are suffering from a post – boom hangover, with prices now having to be far more sober to attract buyer interest. In contrast, North East prices never had the opportunity to become intoxicated by the capital city's heady mix of high demand, low interest rates and higher salaries.”
In equity markets, miners were the standout gainers as copper prices rose, with Rio, BHP, Anglo American, Antofagasta and Glencore all higher. Glencore investors shrugged off reports that its offices in Mumbai have been raided by the Indian competition regulator as part of an investigation into alleged price fixing.
Shares in retailer Footasylum surged 74% as it agreed to be bought by larger rival JD Sports Fashion for 82.5p per share in cash, around half the price at which it floated in late 2017.
AstraZeneca edged up after saying that the US Food and Drug Administration has granted orphan drug designation for potential lung-disease treatment saracatinib.
Domino's Pizza gained as it refuted refuted claims made in the Sunday Times that the company has been misleading investors about progress in negotiations with the pizza chain's franchisees.
There were also gains for energy services group Hunting after an upgrade to 'buy' from 'neutral' at UBS, while Legal & General and Rolls-Royce were boosted by upgrades at JPMorgan Cazenove and Morgan Stanley, respectively.
On the downside, housebuilders fell after the release of the Rightmove survey, with Persimmon, Berkeley, Taylor Wimpey, Barratt Developments and Bovis Homes all lower.
Shares in Rightmove also declined after a downgrade to 'neutral' from 'buy' at UBS, while Aston Martin Lagonda fell as Jefferies cut its price target on the stock.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,299.19 0.98%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,486.70 -0.02%
techMARK (TASX) 3,550.89 0.20%
FTSE 100 – Risers
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 234.90p 4.96%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 4,822.00p 3.12%
BHP Group (BHP) 1,768.40p 2.90%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 4,267.00p 2.79%
Tesco (TSCO) 235.20p 2.62%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,156.00p 2.61%
3i Group (III) 972.00p 2.40%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 1,147.50p 2.27%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,977.00p 2.07%
Evraz (EVR) 630.00p 1.88%
FTSE 100 – Fallers
Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) 5,855.00p -1.51%
Just Eat (JE.) 731.60p -1.48%
Whitbread (WTB) 5,058.36p -1.21%
NMC Health (NMC) 2,624.00p -1.20%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 542.80p -1.06%
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 7,010.00p -0.99%
Informa (INF) 721.20p -0.99%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 3,950.00p -0.88%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,248.00p -0.87%
Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 501.00p -0.75%
FTSE 250 – Risers
Hunting (HTG) 568.50p 3.84%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 595.20p 3.71%
AJ Bell (AJB) 309.40p 3.37%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 270.00p 3.09%
Equiniti Group (EQN) 209.50p 2.95%
Greene King (GNK) 671.20p 2.94%
Stobart Group Ltd. (STOB) 181.00p 2.36%
PZ Cussons (PZC) 206.40p 2.28%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 194.90p 2.20%
B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 387.80p 2.10%
FTSE 250 – Fallers
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 1,096.60p -5.56%
Senior (SNR) 208.20p -5.28%
Clarkson (CKN) 2,480.00p -4.41%
Contour Global (GLO) 176.40p -3.87%
Kier Group (KIE) 484.00p -3.68%
Inmarsat (ISAT) 431.00p -3.60%
Vivo Energy (VVO) 121.74p -3.29%
Bakkavor Group (BAKK) 127.00p -3.08%
Syncona Limited NPV (SYNC) 238.50p -3.05%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 275.50p -2.79%