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Pound resumes slide at start of key Brexit week

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The British pound fell against the euro and dollar on Monday, the start of a pivotal week for Britain and the European Union to strike a Brexit deal.

European and US stocks also retreated as investors weighed the partial US-China trade agreement announced Friday that initially boosted markets.

But sentiment about the agreement shifted over the weekend following more subdued commentary in the Chinese press as analysts focused on the fact the deal did not remove any existing tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of trade between the countries. And more tariffs could be imposed later this year if talks stumble again.

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“Stocks won’t fall that much because the trade situation has improved between China and the United States,” said Gregori Volokhine of Meeschaert Financial Services.

“At the same, there is a ceiling on how high the market will go because there is s still a chance of new tariffs.”

Official data meanwhile showed Chinese imports and exports fell more than forecast in September, as US tariffs and cooling demand at home and abroad hit trade in the world’s second largest economy.

The figures weighed heavily on the oil market. Oil prices had surged Friday, fueled by a blast on an Iranian tanker and news of the US-China deal.

The British pound also lost some of its sheen after last week’s optimism over Brexit.

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Sterling rallied late last week after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar said after meeting that they could see a “pathway” to reaching a Brexit deal.

But European officials on Sunday said obstacles remained on how to manage trade and customs between EU-member Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is a part of the United Kingdom.

Time is running out to sign off on any deal at an October 17-18 European Union summit, the last such meeting before Britain’s scheduled departure from the European Union at the end of the month.

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Sterling “is in the red as dealers are less hopeful that a deal will be struck between the UK and the EU,” said David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets UK.

“Sterling enjoyed a massive rally at the back end of last week due to optimism surrounding the Brexit talks, but now the Northern Ireland customs union roadblock has popped up again,” he said, adding the possibility of Britain requesting an extension has helped avoid further losses.

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– Key figures around 2040 GMT –

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2555 from $1.2668 at 2100 GMT on Friday

Euro/pound: UP at 87.79 pence from 87.17 pence

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Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1024 from $1.1042

Dollar/yen: UP at 108.39 yen from 108.29 yen

New York – Dow: DOWN 0.1 percent at 26,787.36 (close)

New York – S&P 500: DOWN 0.1 percent at 2,966.15 (close)

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New York – Nasdaq: DOWN 0.1 percent at 8,048.65 (close)

London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.5 percent at 7,213.45 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.4 percent at 5,643.08 (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.2 percent at 12,486.56 (close)

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EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.4 percent at 3,555.26 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.8 percent at 26,521.85 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 1.2 percent at 3,007.88 (close)

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: Closed for a public holiday

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 1.9 percent at $59.35 per barrel

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West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 2.0 percent at $53.59 per barrel


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Dem lawmaker demolishes GOP defense that Trump still did more for Ukraine than Obama

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During the impeachment testimony of State Department officials Laura Cooper and David Hale, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) used his time to dismantle a growing defense of President Donald Trump's apparent use of Ukrainian foreign aid for an extortion scheme: that Obama didn't give Ukraine aid either, so Trump didn't even have to.

"Now as to the justification," said Swalwell. "The justification is that the Obama administration only provided blankets, so the Ukrainians should be grateful, even after being shaken down, that the Trump administration provided more, but the truth, Ms. Cooper, is that under the Obama administration and the European Reassurance Initiative, $175 million were provided from U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Ukrainians, is that right?"

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‘He’d back out from bone spurs’: Internet mocks Trump for saying if impeachment was a ‘prizefight they’d stop it’

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President Donald Trump lamented that if the House Intelligence Committee hearings were a "prizefight" then they'd "stop it." It isn't clear what Trump is trying to say with the comment, but the internet agreed with his take, because he would have been knocked out.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1197298118330474498

Typically boxing matches aren't stopped until the end of each round or a boxer is knocked down. So, it's possible Trump means that he doesn't think they are playing fair. Indeed, after Wednesday's testimony, Trump may feel as though he's been slugged below the belt.

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Trumper Scott Jennings slams Devin Nunes for ‘being caught totally flat-footed’

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It's clear the morning testimony didn't go as well as Republicans had wanted. The concern was evident on the face of House Minority Leader Devin Nunes (R-CA), who exchanged glances with the GOP counsel.

Republican Scott Jennings is quick to defend the White House and the GOP, but Wednesday even he was forced to concede his party wasn't prepared for what EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified.

CNN host John King noted that the Republican counsel brought up Rudy Giuliani and his business relationships in Ukraine, outside of his work for President Donald Trump.

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