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FTSE 100 slips as pound weighs, midcaps gain

(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)

* FTSE 100 down 0.2%, FTSE 250 adds 0.3%

Dec 23 (Reuters) - UK’s FTSE 100 slipped on Wednesday as a stronger pound weighed on the exporters, while midcap stocks rose as France agreed to lift a ban on freight from Britain imposed to contain a new coronavirus variant.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 fell 0.2% by 0807 GMT, underperforming its European peers that rebounded from a sell-off on fears about the highly infectious coronavirus variant in Britain.

Domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 inched higher as a deal was reached with Paris to restore critical trade links between UK and other parts of Europe, ending a border blockade imposed to contain the new coronavirus strain.

However, a British minister said the UK and the European Union have still not clinched a trade deal, with just eight days left before Britain exits the EU’s orbit.

In company news, British pub operator Marston’s rose 1% after it said it will operate Brains’ 156 pubs in Wales in a deal that will save 1,300 jobs. (Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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