British stocks jumped yesterday and the pound was firmer before fresh crunch votes on Prime Minister Theresa May’s revised Brexit deal.
London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index was 1.3 per cent higher in mid-afternoon deals.
Among eurozone heavyweights, Frankfurt and Paris also rose, on the back of growing optimism over the US-China trade dispute. Wall Street was a touch higher just after the opening bell.
Oil prices rebounded gently, having tumbled the previous day on worries over a slowing global economy and political instability in key producer Venezuela.
As British lawmakers prepared to hold a series of votes that could reset the course of Brexit, the pound held recently won ground against the dollar.
MPs were set to vote yesterday evening on measures that could include preventing a no-deal Brexit, delaying Brexit, changing the negotiated deal − and even seizing control of the entire process.
“The FTSE 100 is gaining ground... with markets looking relatively optimistic about today’s parliamentary votes,” said IG analyst Joshua Mahony.
Sterling has enjoyed healthy buying in recent weeks on expectations that a chaotic no-deal exit will be avoided.
“Given the EU’s intransigence, the probability of a referendum or an election remains high, and will likely feed European asset volatility over the coming weeks,” said Franklin Pichard, director-general at Kiplink Finance.
Aside from Brexit, the main focus is a two-day meeting between China and US officials aimed at resolving the long-running trade war, which has been a drag on equities.
US President Donald Trump will meet China’s top economic envoy Liu He during the talks, which start today, while US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he expected “significant progress at these meetings”.
In Asia earlier, stock markets mostly fell as the charging of Chinese giant Huawei in the US cast a shadow over the upcoming trade talks.
Beijing, meanwhile, is struggling to kickstart the world’s number two economy, which expanded last year at its slowest pace for almost three decades. A mammoth debt mountain and the US trade war is hampering its efforts.
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