European markets push ahead of another day of UK drama - InfoNews

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European markets push ahead of another day of UK drama

A man walks past an electronic board showing Hong Kong share index outside a bank in Hong Kong, Wednesday, March 13, 2019. Asian shares were lower Wednesday amid continuing global uncertainties that weighed on stocks as some traders took profits from a rally earlier in the week. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
March 13, 2019 - 5:32 AM

LONDON - European stock markets rose modestly Wednesday ahead of another day of high political drama in Britain following the latest heavy defeat of Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal in Parliament.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.3 per cent at 7,170 while the CAC 40 in France rose 0.4 per cent to 5,290. Germany's DAX was steady at 11,525. U.S. shares were set to rise modestly at the open, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures 0.3 per cent higher.

Once again, the focus will be on the British Parliament where lawmakers are set to vote on whether the country should crash out of the European Union on March 29 without a deal.

That proposition is set to be heavily defeated, meaning that lawmakers will have the option on Thursday to back an extension to the country's departure date. However, any delay will require the unanimous support of the other 27 EU nations and it's unclear what they would do and what they would insist upon in return for granting the extension.

The British pound has borne much of the Brexit-related moves in markets, particularly over the past few days. On Wednesday, it was up 0.7 per cent at $1.3164 as traders are hoping the country avoids a "no-deal" outcome.

"For traders, a long extension would be preferable to a short one, unwinding some of the fears that have built up as we head into the 29 March deadline," said Joshua Mahony, Senior Market Analyst at IG.

Investors are also waiting for more details on any potential trade deal between the U.S. and China. Costly tariffs have hurt both nations and investors hope a deal can be struck to at least take some pressure off the global economy, which has shown signs of cooling off.

Earlier Asian markets had a more difficult session. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 dropped nearly 1 per cent to finish at 21,290.24 while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.2 per cent to 6,161.20. South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.4 per cent to 2,148.41. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.5 per cent to 28,776.04, while the Shanghai Composite dipped 1.1 per cent to 3,026.95.

CURRENCIES: The euro was up 0.1 per cent at $1.13 while the dollar was steady at 111.38 yen.

ENERGY: The price of benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 59 cents to $57.46 a barrel. It rose 8 cents to $56.87 a barrel Tuesday. Brent crude rose 56 cents to $67.23 a barrel.

News from © The Associated Press, 2019
The Associated Press

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