Sterling gains, S&P 500 snaps five-day losing streak

Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:51pm EDT
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By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sterling rose versus the dollar and U.S. stocks broke a five-day losing streak on Thursday as campaigning for Britain's vote on whether to leave the European Union was temporarily suspended following the shooting death of a pro-EU British lawmaker.

Oil prices fell for a sixth straight session on global economic worries.

British Member of Parliament Jo Cox, who was shot dead in the street in her constituency in northern England earlier in the day, had been a vocal supporter of Britain remaining within the EU.

Whether Britain will leave the EU, dubbed "Brexit," has rattled markets in recent sessions because of its potential to create more global economic uncertainty. The issue will be decided in a referendum next Thursday.

The British pound gained following the news of Cox's death. It was up 0.2 percent against the dollar at $1.4209 GBP= after trading lower for most of the session.

    "Certainly people are talking about the possibility that this (incident) does influence the Brexit vote in favor of remain. It is a tragic event all around. There is a sense, there is an immediate emotional reaction, but there is still a week before the referendum itself" on June 23, said Alan Ruskin, global co-head of FX research at Deutsche Bank in New York.

The rival referendum campaign groups said they were suspending activities for the day, with the Remain camp saying its activities would also be suspended on Friday.

The benchmark S&P 500 index snapped a five-day losing streak after erasing sharp losses earlier in the session.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., June 10, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - RTSGXVO