Global stocks are inching higher on Thursday amid Brexit vote in the British Parliament. Late last night, the British MEPs rejected the idea of leaving the EU without an agreement and today there will be another vote – whether the divorce process with the union will be prolonged.
The United Kingdom will also have to rely on the World Trade Organization for trade rules.
Meanwhile, the market focus is largely attuned to economic developments, after data showed China’s industrial output expanded at its slowest rate in 17 years.
Asian markets recap
Most of the main stock indexes in the Asia-Pacific region ended today’s trading session without a single direction amid last night’s vote by the British Parliament, which rejected the UK’s exit from the European Union without an agreement.
Tokyo Stock Exchange blue-chip index Nikkei 225 reported a minimum decline of 0.02% to 21,287.02 points. The shares of Toyota Motor and Honda Motor grew by 0.46% and 0.22%, respectively.
In China, the continental index Shanghai Composite wiped out 36.27 points, closing at 2,990.69 points. On the other hand, the Hong Kong’s index Hang Seng climbed 27.29 points, or 0.09%, to 28,834.74 points. The main focus of the Chinese markets was the news for the slowdown in local industrial production, which reached a 17-year low in the first two months of 2019. Industrial production grew by 5.3% on an annual basis for the period January-February, according to the National Statistical Office of the country. This is less than expected and is the slowest growth pace since the beginning of 2002. The forecasts were for a slowdown of up to 5.5% compared to 5.7% in December. The Chinese authorities announced in January that they are taking measures to boost demand for consumer goods, ranging from environmental products to cars, although the scale and scope of the measure are still unknown.
In South Korea, the index Kospi rose by 0.34% to 2,155.68 points.
Australian S&P ASX 200 rose by 0.30% to 6,179.60 points. The shares of BHP Billiton rose by 1.01%.
European markets mid-session recap
German stocks are moving higher on Thursday with DAX 30 rising by 0.24% to 11,600.94 points at 12:00 GMT. The stocks of Volkswagen dropped by 0.44% after earlier company announces a postponement of the IPO of Traton truck unit. The stocks of the other major automakers are on the rise with BMW appreciating by 0.83% and Porsche adding 0.57%. The stocks of chemical giant BASF are down by 0.8%, while those of the pharmaceutical producer Bayer decreased by 0.6%.
The French index CAC 40 is up by 35 points, or 0.67%, to 5,342.05 points at mid-session on Thursday. The stocks of automakers are up with Peugeot and Renault adding by 1.15% and 0.95%, respectively. The shares of Airbus and ArcelorMittal are down by 0.5%. Meanwhile, AccorHotels inched higher by 1.5% after acquiring a new lifestyle brand.
UK shares continued their winning streak as financials cheered British lawmakers’ rejection of a no-deal Brexit and oil majors rose on higher crude prices, but mid-cap retirement services specialist Just Group slumped on plans to raise funds. The blue-chip index FTSE 100 is up by 0.62% to 7,203.39 points at 12:00 GMT. Shell, the most valuable FTSE 100 company, and BP extended gains from a day earlier as OPEC-led supply cuts and US sanctions on Venezuela and Iran thrust oil prices to their highest this year. London-listed shares of travel group TUI jumped by 4% after Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the stock.
Wall Street pre-session recap
The US stock index futures were slightly higher on Thursday morning after the market participants reacted cautiously to mixed economic data from China.
At around 8 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures slipped 27 points, indicating a positive start with 11 points. Futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 are also pointing to higher open by 1.58 points and 10.52 points, respectively.
Weekly jobless claims and import prices for February will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. New home sales for January is set to follow slightly later in the session.