By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch

The British pound hovered around a key technical level as markets awaited the European Union's decision on whether to grant an extension to the U.K. to leaving the bloc.

The pound traded just south of $1.29 as the Times reported the EU will grant a second extension on Friday. The issue is the length of the extension, with the newspaper saying French President Emmanuel Macron only wants a two-week extension (, and not until Jan. 31 as many had thought.

Meanwhile, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson could make a third attempt to trigger a general election.

The FTSE 100 meanwhile leaped 1.02% to 7334.69, buoyed in particular by stronger-than-forecast earnings from AstraZeneca (AZN.LN) (AZN.LN) , which rose 2.8%.

Breadth was overwhelmingly positive on the London Stock Exchange, with advancers outnumbering decliners 1165 to 701.

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.LN) (RBS.LN) struggled, falling 2.4% as the bank reported a swing to a third-quarter loss due to a provision to cover payment protection insurance costs (


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 24, 2019 08:21 ET (12:21 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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