European stocks as surge as draft Brexit deal agreed

KEY POINTS

  • The bid for a last-gasp deal on Britain’s departure from the EU will likely dominate the two-day summit in Brussels.
  • Any prospective deal will need approval from the 27 European leaders who meet on Thursday, before requiring ratification from the British parliament.
  • The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), a key ally of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government, said in a statement that it could not approve the customs and consent arrangements relating to Northern Ireland in the proposed deal put forward by the U.K.

European stocks soared on Thursday morning after a draft Brexit deal was agreed between the U.K. and the European Union.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 reversed early losses to jump 0.7% after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that a “great new deal” had been reached, before European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker confirmed the agreement.

Banks led the charge with a 1.6% rise as all sectors except food and beverages entered positive territory. Sterling hit a five-month high of $1.2949 in the aftermath of the announcements.

The prospective deal will need approval from British lawmakers in parliament at the weekend, which could pose a further hurdle for Johnson, who does not hold a parliamentary majority and has struggled to win over opposition lawmakers in Westminster since taking leadership of the ruling Conservative Party in July.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), a key ally of Johnson’s government, said in a statement Thursday that it could not approve the proposed customs and consent arrangements relating to Northern Ireland.

Top of Form

Shares in Asia Pacific were also mixed on Thursday, with the exception of Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, which rose on the back of a strong session for property developer shares after leader Carrie Lam announced measures to ease a housing shortage and calm ongoing anti-government protests.

Weak U.S. retail sales data also weighed on stocks overnight, with an unexpected drop raising concerns about the state of the world’s largest economy.

Staying stateside, U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators are working on phase one of a trade deal text to be presented to presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, according to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Back in Europe, the European Central Bank (ECB) plans to implement a substantial stimulus package in full despite disagreements within its Governing Council over the move being made public, according to French central bank president Francois Villeroy de Galhau. However, he added that a broader review of the bank’s policy framework is welcome.

On the data front, U.K. retail sales for September are expected at 9:30 a.m. London time.

Stocks on the move

WH Smith shares leaped 10.4% after the British retailer announced that it would buy Marshall Retail for $400 million in a bid to expand its presence in U.S. airports.

EricssonElisa and Tele2 shares all jumped more than 5% after reporting strong third-quarter earnings, Ericsson leading the way with a 7.5% gain.

Earnings news also dominated the bottom of the European blue chip index, with Swiss software company Temenos plunging 18% after missing expectations. British price comparison site Moneysupermarket also fell 10.1% after its third-quarter trading statement.

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