Pound weakens vs. dollar
Ofcom's investigation into Murdoch's takeover of Sky delayed
EU wants Britain kept under European courts
Corbyn says Labour is gaining ground
3.27pm...That's all folks
The FTSE is broadly flat at 7,120.09 and the pound is weaker versus the dollar as we conclude our coverage of the general election for today. We will return with more updates on Monday.
3.06pm... Pound still hovering at levels seen at election news
The pound is down 0.14% against the dollar to US$1.2795 after weak UK retail sales figures but one analyst has pointed out that it is still hovering around the levels seen at the shock news of the snap general election on Tuesday.
David Lamb, head of dealing at FEXCO Corporate Payments, said: “The markets’ assumption that Britain’s June election will deliver a clear victory for Theresa May and place Brexit negotiations on a firmer footing has shifted attitudes towards the pound. With bad news already priced in for sterling, this week’s unexpected boost in confidence means it is becoming increasingly able to take such shocks in its stride.”
Meanwhile, the pound is up 0.10% against the euro to €1.1968. Lamb said this reflects doubts over the French election, which "remains too close to call after Thursday night’s shootings in Paris – it also suggests sterling has found a new resilience".
A policeman was shot dead by a suspected Islamist militan last night, two days before the presidential election.
2.32pm... Corbyn says Labour is gaining support
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Labour has been getting more support from voters since beginning his campaign trail for the general election.
During a visit to a children’s centre in Bristol, he told Sky News: "We’ve just started the election campaign, we’re 72 hours into it and I’m loving every moment of it. We’re gaining support, we’re gaining a huge amount of ground and we’re getting a great deal of support. Watch this space ..."
1.25pm... Probe into Murdoch's takeover of Sky delayed until after election
An investigation into Rupert Murdoch's takeover of Sky plc (LON:SKY) has been delayed until after the general election on 8 June.
Ofcom had until 16 May to examine whether the takeover gives Murdoch too much control of UK news media and whether he is a “fit and proper” owner.
The regulator now has until 20 June after the election was brought forward from 2020.
Shares in Sky fell 0.15% to 982.56p.
Inquiry into Murdoch's Sky deal delayed until after general election pic.twitter.com/JqmLSxcizn— Ken Shabby (@MrKenShabby) 21 April 2017
12.14pm... EU’s draft Brexit negotiating documents leaked
A leaked draft of the European Union’s draft Brexit negotiating documents state that Britain will have to pay off their obligations to Brussels for years after it leaves the bloc.
The document, seen by Reuters, also says Britain will remain subject to EU courts and will continue to let relatives of European immigrants settle in the UK.
Such stipulations would delay Theresa May’s plans to end free movement of workers from the EU and to rid the UK of budget contributions to Brussels.
11.54am....Pound reverses rally
The pound has run out of steam after spiking on Theresa May’s announcement on a snap general election on Tuesday.
Sterling is down 0.18% versus the dollar at US$1.2790 after disappointing UK retail sales figures. The FTSE 100 is also lower, down 7 points to 7,111.02.
Retail sales dropped 1.4% in the first quarter after rising 0.8% in the last three months of 2016, official data showed. It marked the worse quarterly fall in seven years.
“March’s retail sales figure shows that cracks are beginning to appear in the UK economy, with the burden of rising inflation and a Brexit-hit pound leaving consumers in a precarious position,” said Paul Sirani, analyst at Xtrade.
“Consumer spending has defied forecasts and proved resilient since June’s referendum, but today’s dip confirms a first quarterly decline since Q4 2013, and provides further indications the engine room of the UK economy is running out of steam.”
11.15am... Lib Dems overtake UKIP in PA poll
10.42am...Corbyn vows to abolish zero-hour contracts
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to abolish zero-hour contracts as part of his campaign trail for the general election.
Speaking at an event in Swindon, Corbyn said some one million people are currently on zero-hour contracts, unsure of how much they will earn from one week to the next.
The Labour government will also introduce a living wage of £10 an hour if elected, he said.
He acknowledged that some small firms may struggle to pay £10 an hour so Labour would have a scheme to ensure they are compensated.
09.40am..Election won’t hurt UK housebuilders, says Liberum
Liberum thinks the general election is unlikely to impact the UK housing market.
“The general election called for 8 June is unlikely to disturb selling rates or market sentiment much, in our view.
“After the strong run in shares, it is likely there will be some pause as investors wait to understand the impact of inflation on consumers' behaviour and anticipate the likely seasonal slowing of sales rates into the summer.
08.33am...Farage won't stand in election
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said he will not stand in the general election, saying his focus was as an member of the European pariliament. He said being an MEP would give him a better chance to influence Brexit.
“The Brexit negotiations will take place in Brussels and the European parliament will not only have a large impact on them, but ultimately will have the right of veto on any deal at the end of the two-year process.”