FTSE 100 climbs as pound falls on fresh Brexit uncertainty

London markets were turbulent on Monday, amid signs of slowing growth in Europe and uncertainty mounted over the outlook for Brexit.

Drug stocks led the gainers.

Reversing course, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 UKX, +0.44% rose 0.3% to 6,804.26, after closing down 2.9% at the end of the week on Friday.

The European Court of Justice ruled on Monday that the U.K. could officially cancel Brexit without the permission of the other 27 EU member states. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May would postpone a crucial vote in Parliament on her Brexit plan that had been set for Tuesday, putting pressure on the British pound. May is scheduled to make a statement on Brexit later Monday.

Sterling GBPUSD, -0.8876%slid to fresh 18-month lows, trading around $1.2658 versus $1.2731 late Friday in New York.

Figures released on Monday that showed Germany’s trade surplus with the rest of the world narrowed. According to the Federal Statistics Office exports of goods — not goods and services — rose 0.7% in October from the month before.

The Bank of France announced that the French economy will grow slower than originally projected and blamed recent protests across the country for the lag.

Drug stocks led the gainers, with AstraZeneca PLC AZN, +3.04% and GlaxoSmithKline GSK, -0.32%GSK, +2.25% up over 2%.

Just Group PLC JUST, +21.80% jumped by over 20% after the U.K’s insurance regulator announced a favorable ruling on capital charges on equity-release mortgages, a specialty product of the U.K.-based retirement company.

In media stocks, ITV PLC ITV, -3.05% dropped by almost 2%.

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