Traders at a stock brokerage firm in London. Reuters
Britain said it is ramping up preparations for a no-deal Brexit by spending an extra 2.1 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) to stockpile medicines, hire more border officials and fund one of the biggest peacetime advertising campaigns.
World stocks touched record highs on Friday, as trading wound down before the year-end holidays, while the British pound was heading towards its worst week for more than two years amid renewed worries over how Britain will leave the European Union.
Britain’s Brexit crisis tipped the country’s construction industry into its sharpest fall in a decade in June, a survey showed, in a stark sign of how quickly the world’s fifth-biggest economy is slowing.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 1.0 per cent, in the eurozone, Frankfurt won 0.9 per cent and Paris climbed 0.8 per cent.
Spot gold was up 0.8% at $2,033.86 per ounce by 0655 GMT, after hitting a record high of $2,036.49. US gold futures rose 1.4% to $2,049.30.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.26 per cent, or 58.81 points, to end at 22,514.85, while the broader Topix index inched down 0.04 per cent, or 0.55 points, to 1,554.71.
Brent crude was up by 31 cents, or 0.7%, at $44.74 a barrel by 0713 GMT. The contract rose 0.6% on Wednesday to its highest close since March 6. West Texas Intermediate oil was up by 26 cents, or 0.6%, at $41.96 a barrel. The contract ended Tuesday trading 1.7% higher, its highest close since late July.