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Stocks, UK pound gain on hopes for a Brexit deal

Agence France-Presse
Stocks, UK pound gain on hopes for a Brexit deal

BREXIT. In this file photo taken on December 14, 2017, British one pound sterling coins and one euro coins are arranged in front of the European Union flag in London.

Photo by Justin Tallis/AFP

Bourses in Paris, Frankfurt, and London all gain around 1% or more on Wednesday, December 23

Global stock markets mostly rose on Wednesday, December 24, along with the pound as Britain and the European Union (EU) edged closer to a post-Brexit trade deal and markets shrugged off comments from President Donald Trump that threatened to derail a giant United States economic relief package.

After months of torturous negotiations between London and Brussels, a definitive breakthrough seemed close, as EU chief Ursula von der Leyen and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson took control of the talks.

“We are in the final phase,” one EU official told Agence France-Presse. Asked whether this meant a deal later on Wednesday, a source close to the talks said, “Very likely, yes.”

Bourses in Paris, Frankfurt, and London all gained around 1% or more.

Oil prices also rose rebounding from big losses suffered earlier this week following a US oil inventory report showed lower supplies.

The pound got a boost against the dollar “after France reopened routes with the UK and on hopes that Brexit negotiators will be successful in delivering a last-minute trade agreement,” said Edward Moya, a senior analyst at the online broker Oanda.

Back in the US, Trump rejected a $900-billion economic relief package and called for stimulus payments to be lifted to $2,000 from $600, raising the possibility he could veto the long-debated measure.

Investors looked past the risk the stimulus bill could die and instead focused on the possibility of a richer package.

“If there’s any change, it’s to make the bill more stimulative,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities, adding that after 4 years of watching Trump, markets are accustomed to “watching what he does, not what he says.”

“Nobody on either side of the aisle wants to go back without delivering something,” Hogan said.

Analysts also cited a boost from the announcement of a US-reached agreement to purchase an additional 100 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19.

Still, a flurry of new data provided more evidence the US economy is faltering as COVID-19 cases have spiked.

Consumer confidence fell as incomes and spending declined, and new home sales slumped, according to government and private data.

While new applications for US jobless benefits fell by 89,000 last week after 2 weeks of increases, they remain high and have risen in 4 of the past 6 weeks, the Labor Department reported.

The trove of data was “not nearly as great as hoped for,” economist Joel Naroff said in an analysis.

He pointed to the drop in personal income as the most troubling sign, saying “it is clear that people are not replacing their government welfare payments with private sector income.”

Key figures around 9:45 pm GMT
  • New York – Dow: UP 0.4% at 30,129.83 (close)
  • New York – S&P 500: UP 0.1% at 3,690.01 (close)
  • New York – Nasdaq: DOWN 0.3% at 12,771.11 (close)
  • London – FTSE 100: UP 0.7% at 6,495.75 (close)
  • Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 1.3% at 13,587.23 (close)
  • Paris – CAC 40: UP 1.1% at 5,527.59 (close)
  • EURO STOXX 50: UP 1.2% at 3,539.26 (close)
  • Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.3% at 26,524.79 (close)
  • Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.9% at 26,343.10 (close)
  • Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.8% at 3,382.32 (close)
  • Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3515 from $1.3361 at 10 pm GMT
  • Euro/pound: DOWN at 90.16 pence from 91.03 pence
  • Euro/dollar: UP at $1.2185 from $1.2163
  • Dollar/yen: DOWN at 103.53 yen from 103.64 yen 
  • West Texas Intermediate: UP 2.4% at $48.12 per barrel
  • Brent North Sea crude: UP 2.2% at $51.20 per barrel

– Rappler.com

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