World shares advance but Britain slips on Brexit limbo
SINGAPORE (AP) — World shares were mostly higher Wednesday as investors shrugged off the parliamentary defeat of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan for leaving the European Union.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany’s DAX rose 0.1 percent to 10,899.16 and France’s CAC 40 added 0.3 percent to 4,802.02. Britain’s FTSE 100 sank 0.4 percent to 6,869.00. Wall Street was positioned for gains, with Dow futures up 0.3 percent at 24,064.00 and broader S&P 500 futures gaining 0.3 percent to 2,614.10.
BREXIT VOTE: British Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a major setback Tuesday when lawmakers rejected a Brexit deal by 432 votes to 202. She was expected to lose despite last-minute campaigning for the widely unpopular deal she had brokered with the EU. Britain is set to leave the bloc on March 29. World markets were largely unaffected and the British pound tumbled before the vote but bounced back afterward. May faces a no-confidence vote later Wednesday that could trigger a general election but she is expected to survive it.
ANALYST’S TAKE: “The parliament’s vote came as no surprise because everybody predicted it will be overwhelmingly rejected,” said Francis Lun, a stock analyst in Hong Kong. “Actually what it does is really remove uncertainty that Britain will leave the EU. I think we are on firmer ground now that eventually Britain will stay in the EU.”
JAPAN ECONOMY: On Wednesday, Japan said its core machinery orders were flat in November at 863.1 billion yen, compared with October’s 7.6 percent rise. This was also lower than analysts’ expectations of a 3 percent increase. There was a sharp drop in orders from the manufacturing sector, although overseas orders climbed. The data suggests Japanese companies may be less confident in making big-ticket purchases in the face of global risks.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index, weighed down by weak machinery orders in December, slipped 0.6 percent to 20,442.75. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.4 percent to 2,106.10 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.3 percent to 26,902.10. Australia’s S&P ASX 200 added 0.4 percent to 5,835.20 while Shanghai’s Composite index was flat at 2,570.42. Shares fell in Taiwan and Indonesia but rose in Malaysia and Singapore.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil picked up 19 cents to $52.30 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract added $1.60 to settle at $52.11 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 30 cents to $60.94. It gained $1.65 to $60.64 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 108.59 yen from 108.69 late Tuesday. The euro rose $1.1418 from $1.1413, while the British pound rose to $1.2892 from $1.2859.