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U.K. Parliament Votes to Delay Brexit
Topic of the day
British lawmakers on Thursday voted to delay the U.K.'s departure from the European Union, scheduled for March 29, in the latest installment in an extraordinary week for the Brexit saga. The result sets the stage for a possible third vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's EU withdrawal deal early next week, allowing Mrs. May to use the threat of a long delay to press anti-EU lawmakers to finally support her plan. Parliament on Tuesday spurned the deal for a second time and on Wednesday rejected a no-deal exit under any circumstances. Thursday's decision to delay the departure puts the ball back into the court of the other 27 EU governments, which must unanimously agree to any extension. They will consider the matter at a summit in Brussels that starts next Thursday.
The SMI surged 1 percent to 9,482 points Thursday, but reticence reigned before the next Brexit vote Thursday evening. The UK House of Commons will vote on postponing the withdrawal and the possibility of a second referendum. EU Council President Donald Tusk offered the UK a long Brexit delay to consider options. All stocks closed up, but traders said Friday’s “triple witching hour” was already casting a shadow. Stock market index futures, stock market index options and stock options will all expire together, which can cause hefty price fluctuations. Heavyweights Nestle, Roche and Novartis buoyed the SMI, rising by between 1.2 percent and 1.3 percent, despite news that Richard Francis, CEO of Novartis subsidiary Sandoz, would resign at the end of March, with Sandoz Head of Central & Eastern Europe Francesco Balestrieri taking over as interim CEO. Geberit led the SMI, rising 2.9 percent to CHF 414.10 after analysts had raised their target to CHF 466 and confirmed their “buy” recommendation.
The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.8% after U.K. lawmakers late Wednesday ruled out a no-deal exit from the European Union. The index finished up 2.92 points to 378.52, the largest one-day point gain since Feb. 15. The index is now up for two consecutive trading days and is up 5.27 points, or 1.41%, over the last two trading days. The DAX was up 15.06 points, or 0.13%, to 11587.47 and is now up for two consecutive trading days. The CAC-40 index was up 43.40 points, or 0.82%, to 5349.78. The index saw its largest one-day point-and-percentage gain since Feb. 15. The FTSE 100 index was up 26.24 points, or 0.37%, to 7185.43 and is up for four consecutive trading days.
U.S. stocks flipped between gains and losses intraday as investors continued to weigh global trade tensions and concerns about slowing economic growth. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ticked up 20 points, or 0.1%, to 25721. The S&P 500 added less than 0.1% and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.1%. Gains in financial shares in the broad S&P 500 were offset by declines in material stocks. All three major averages are at least 1% higher so far this week after suffering their worst week since December. Mounting signs of a global economic slowdown have kept this year's rally in check, though progress in the trade talks between Washington and Beijing and dovish messaging by central banks have helped stocks recover from steep falls in the fourth quarter.
Asian markets rose in early trading Friday as China took a step to appease U.S. trade negotiators. Chinese legislators on Friday approved a new law against the forced transfer of technology by foreign companies, which has been a major complaint by the U.S. and other countries. The move was intended to smooth the path to a trade deal, but it's unclear if it will be enough.
U.S. government bonds were hovering around the flatline intraday, having paired early losses following a lackluster report on new-home sales. In recent trading, the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was 2.621%, according to Tradeweb, compared with 2.612% from Wednesday.
IR downgrades Morphosys target to 96 (104) EUR - Hold
Warburg downgrades IBU-Tec target to 20,60 (21,30) EUR - Buy
Warburg raises Symrise target to 89 (87) EUR - Buy
IR raises Lufthansa target to 23 (21,50) EUR - Hold
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