US stocks slide while sterling picks up to five-month high
Philip Georgiadis in London
US stocks slipped slightly following the release of more unemployment data, while sterling rose to a five-month high after the Bank of England appeared cool on the prospect of introducing negative interest rates.
The S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq opened down around 0.1 per cent, after futures recovered their earlier heavier losses when data showed the pace of new applications for US unemployment aid slowed last week.
Investors were monitoring political developments in Washington, where the US Senate is also locked in negotiations to extend jobless benefits that expired last month to support the US economy during the coronavirus crisis.
The pound rose 0.4 per cent to $1.317, its highest level since the turmoil in March when coronavirus-related concerns raced through markets.
The Bank of England’s monetary policy committee tempered the prospect of introducing negative interest rates in the near future on Thursday, warning on the possible impact to the banking sector and noting “the MPC has other instruments available”.
The absence of a clear signal towards negative rates could spur further gains for the pound in the short term,