London Markets: Pound drops as high hurdles remain for Brexit deal

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The pound was under pressure and U.K. stocks were struggling as investors took in headlines pointing to tough hurdles on the Brexit-deal front on Wednesday.

The U.K. FTSE 100 UKX, -0.06%  slipped 0.1% to 7,201.08, while the British pound fell across as the possibly of the U.K. reaching an exit-deal with the bloc ahead of the start of a two-day EU summit that begins Thursday looked increasingly bleak.

EU and U.K. negotiators failed to reach a breakthrough in all-night Brussels talks which will continue on Wednesday. Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said “many issues” must be resolved before an exit deal for the U.K. can be reached, according to media reports, while an EU official said any deal would be unlikely without more U.K. concessions, said a Bloomberg report.

The pound GBPUSD, -0.3676%, which has swung back and forth in recent sessions on Brexit headlines, fell 0.3% to $1.2751 against the dollar.

Elsewhere, shares of ASOS PLC ASC, +19.65%  soared 20% after the U.K. online retailer reported a 68% drop in profit for fiscal 2019, but said the new fiscal year has gotten off to a solid start.

“The initial share price reaction to the results reflect a leap of faith, after management assurances that the latter part of the year was rather more positive, to the extent that it can look forward to the next period with confidence,” said Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, in a note to clients.