European shares start positively but sterling wobbles as Brexit casts a shadow over currency markets after UK prime minister Theresa May presses the formal trigger on Britain's divorce with the EU. Ivor Bennett reports.
The divorce has been long expected. But still, filing the papers - to officially begin Brexit - saw the pound slip against the major currencies. Sterling trading at an eight-day low, down 0.5 percent against the dollar, ahead of Theresa May's move on Wednesday to formally invoke Article 50. SOUNDBITE (English) MIKE INGRAM, MARKET STRATEGIST, BGC PARTNERS, SAYING: "It's perhaps partly attributable to a dollar move. But there's no doubt that markets are a little bit jittery. And given that the performance of sterling over recent months has actually been broadly stable, maybe some people thought that discretion is the better part of valour." Officially starting Britain's exit from the EU pitches the UK into the unknown. Just what Brexit will mean for sterling from here depends a great deal on the next two years of negotiations. SOUNDBITE (English) MIKE INGRAM, MARKET STRATEGIST, BGC PARTNERS, SAYING: "I think in some respects we might be back to the very much sort of event-driven dynamic that we were in 2012, where we were in the midst of a euro zone crisis. A euro zone crisis. And pretty much every day you had some European politician saying something dumb and upsetting the markets." Adding to investor uncertainty was the Scottish Parliament's move yesterday to back a bid for a second independence referendum. But the formal triggering of Brexit was mainly shrugged off in Europe. With shares rising on Wednesday, following Wall Street's lead.