London Markets: Pound falls as poll shows Corbyn battled Johnson to a draw in U.K. debate

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) and main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The British pound drifted lower on Wednesday as Jeremy Corbyn was perceived as holding his own in the televised debate with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Read: Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn spar in debate ahead of British election

A YouGov/Sky News poll of 1,646 found 51% saying Johnson won the ITV debate, against 49% saying Corbyn performed best.

Sterling has tended to move in line with election expectations for the Conservatives, ever since Johnson reached a pact with the European Union to exit. The risk to financial markets is less that Corbyn’s Labour Party would win outright but that the Conservatives won’t secure a majority.

The pound GBPUSD, -0.2011%  traded at $1.2914 versus $1.2926 on Tuesday.

The FTSE 100 UKX, -1.29%  meanwhile dropped 0.91% to 7257.00, with stock markets across Europe reflecting worries the U.S. won’t reach a trade pact with China after the U.S. Senate easily passed legislation supporting human rights in Hong Kong.

Kingfisher KGF, -6.11%  shares slumped 5.7% as the operator of home-improvement stores reported a 3.7% decline in comparable-store sales in the quarter ending October 31. The retailer blamed continuing disruption from new range implementations, lower promotional activity and ongoing operational challenges in France, as well as softer market conditions in the main markets, for the downturn.

Fevertree Drinks FEVR, +11.38%  shares surged 10% despite a warning from the maker of tonic water, which said revenue for the fiscal year would range between £266 million and £268 million. This was below the FactSet-compiled analyst consensus of £271.6 million. Fevertree said growth accelerated in its main growth markets of the U.S. and Europe. However, its U.K. performance in so-called off-trade businesses like supermarkets was behind expectations, which the company attributed to a slowdown in consumer spending.

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