London Markets: FTSE 100 spooked by India-Pakistan tensions, held back by strong pound

London markets fell on Wednesday, as a strong pound continued to weigh on the FTSE 100, with tensions between India and Pakistan also spooking some investors.

How are markets performing?

The FTSE 100 UKX, -0.72% fell 0.7% to 7,097.77, while the pound GBPUSD, +0.5131% strengthened further on growing sentiment a delay to the March 29 Brexit deadline will happen.

What’s driving the markets?

Prime Minister Theresa May said Tuesday that if her deal gets rejected in a March 12 vote, lawmakers can vote to delay the process. Discussions will carry on Wednesday.

Read: Brexit Brief: Pro-Europe rebels mount another push to take control

The pound GBPUSD, +0.5131%  fetched $1.3271 from $1.1390 late in New York on Tuesday. Since many U.K. stocks earn substantial revenues outside the country, strength in the U.K. currency can hurt the heavyweight exporters.

Plus: British pound keeps gaining amid Brexit hopes as currency markets play themes on loop

What’s driving the markets?

Growing geopolitical tension between Pakistan and India weighed on impacted equities across Europe and parts of Asia, with London being hit especially hard “where benchmarks are breaking significant support levels,” Pierre Veyret, technical analyst at ActivTrades, in a note to clients. He said the next big support level for the FTSE 100 lies at 7,010.

Elsewhere, the second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is set to kick off in Vietnam on Wednesday. The two leaders will discuss the denuclearization agreement initial signed in at the first summit in June 2018.

What stocks are active?

Leading the decliners, supermarket Marks & Spencer Group PLC MKS, -10.13% lost over 10%, after it announced a new joint venture with online delivery service Ocado Group PLC OCDO, +3.48% which added 3.5%.

“This deal is a case of the old meeting the new. M&S has clearly decided if you can’t beat them, join them, and in a digital age it simply can’t afford to ignore the online audience for food,” Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, told clients in a note.

Although ITV PLC ITV, -3.05%  announced a profit rise, the television channel lost 2.7% as revenue growth was offset by the cost increases in its broadcast and online division.

“While the strategy makes sense, and ITV is impressively growing its share of viewing, there’s no getting away from the fact the world is changing fast and the group’s core business is facing a battle to stay relevant. That’s a significant challenge” Khalaf also said.

Meanwhile, leading the heavyweight miners Rio Tinto PLC RIO, +0.55%  gained 0.6%, after saying it will pay a special dividend as profits jumps. In sympathy, Glencore PLC GLEN, +0.94% also rose 1%.

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