By Emily Horton
London markets fell in a holiday-shortened session Monday and ahead of an extended break, with investors unnerved by Wall Street losses and more political worries out of the U.S.
How are markets trading?
The U.K.’s FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.71% closed down 0.5% to 6,685.99 after finishing 2% lower for the week last Friday. Markets closed at midday and will reopen on Dec. 27.
The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD -0.0508% nudged higher to $1.2654 from $1.2630 late on Friday in New York.
What is driving the markets?
A statement released by the U.S. Treasury Department intended to reassure investors may have backfired on Monday. According to the statement, Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke with the CEOs of six leading banks and was told they had ample liquidity to see them through the current market downturn — however, the surprise announcement looks to have investors worried.
Also on Sunday, President Donald Trump’s administration warned that a partial U.S. government shutdown could stretch into January. There have been signs that Trump is willing to accept less funding for his controversial U.S.-Mexico border wall, according to White House officials, and markets will hope the deadlock can be broken soon.
Oil major BP PLC /zigman2/quotes/207305210/composite BP +3.74% rose 1%, provided a lift for the index, though oil prices were headed south.
Software company Micro Focus International PLC /zigman2/quotes/207956281/delayed UK:MCRO +1.18% jumped 3% on Monday.
Water company United Utilities Group PLC was the biggest loser in London, falling by 4.6%.