The British pound spiked today after top Brexit campaigner and former London mayor Boris Johnson said he will not stand to succeed Prime Minister David Cameron.

The currency rose to $1.3493 from its $1.3434 level seen just before the surprise announcement by Johnson who had been widely expected to go for Prime Minister David Cameron's job. 

Sterling was battered following last week's British vote to leave the European Union, and has since staged a gradual recovery.

Meanwhile, European stock markets reversed their earlier losses to stand higher once again this afternoon.

London's FTSE index closed up 2.27%, while the Paris CAC was up 1% and the Frankfurt DAX increased by 1.65%.

Dublin's ISEQ index gained 0.97%  today, while Asian markets also closed higher in earlier trade.

Meanwhile, US stocks opened modestly higher this afternoon as investors continued to weigh the volatile political environment in Britain a week after Britain's vote to quit the European Union.