November 24, 2017 / 10:28 AM / a year ago

Britain's FTSE slips as sterling rises on "positive" Brexit tone

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* FTSE 100 down 0.2 pct

* Brexit talks in focus

* Brokers cut target prices on Centrica

By Georgina Prodhan

LONDON, Nov 24 (Reuters) - UK shares slipped on Friday as sterling rose, remaining near three-week highs on an upbeat tone in Brexit talks that could see the currency break through a technical barrier.

British Prime Minister Theresa May was due to discuss Britain’s plans to leave the European Union with EU summit chair Donald Tusk later in the day, describing the negotiations as “positive” as she arrived in Brussels.

Britain’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index was down 0.3 percent at 7,397.01 points by 1003 GMT, partially reversing Thursday’s gains and now up 0.2 percent on the week.

Energy company Centrica was again among the top decliners, falling another 1.9 percent after Thursday’s 15 percent drop on a severe profit warning.

Several brokers cut their target prices on Centrica.

“Although this persistent weakness leaves them looking extremely oversold... there is still little in the broader technical picture to suggest that they have bottomed out,” wrote technical analyst Bill McNamara.

With little corporate news of note, many were focused on May’s Brussels trip as well as an Irish government crisis whose effect on the next round of Brexit talks is hard to predict.

The Irish government is fighting for its survival after the party propping it up announced plans to break their agreement because of the handling of a police scandal.

The crisis has hit just weeks ahead of a key EU Brexit summit, a large portion of which hinges on Irish issues - and Ireland has an effective veto over whether talks move on.

Sterling rose 0.1 percent, and was close to breaking through a key level of $1.333 above which it could quickly rise to late September’s highs.

Other major FTSE decliners were healthcare provider Mediclinic, down 2 percent, and BT, which fell 1.3 percent as Deutsche Bank cut its forecasts, saying the communications group was underperforming peers.

The top gainer was information services provider Experian , which rose 1.5 percent on an upgrade to “neutral” from Exane BNP Paribas. (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; editing by Ralph Boulton)

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