Currency traders look at monitors at KEB Hana Bank's exchange offices in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday March 14, 2019. Asian markets were usually higher on Thursday, as the slowing Chinese industrial output was hoping for more guarantees from Beijing. (AP Photo / Ahn Young-joon)
Global stock markets floated higher on Thursday as traders waited for a vote that could delay Britain's exit from the European Union on March 29.
In Europe, the British FTSE 100 increased by 0.5 percent to 7,195 and the French CAC 40 by 0.7 percent to 5,341. Germany was 0.4 percent higher at 11.61. Wall Street was set for a flat opening with Dow futures and the wider S&P 500 futures trading in very narrow series.
The focus in markets will again be on London, where legislators will vote on whether or not to apply for an extension of the European Union over the planned departure from the United Kingdom from Great Britain. The Brexit will take place on March 29, but since lawmakers have not agreed a withdrawal contract, a majority is expected to need more time.
The final vote comes one day after they voted 321-278 to indicate that they did not want the country to leave the EU without a divorce agreement. The decision was not legally binding, but it resulted in gains in the pound. Most of those benefits have evaporated during the uncertainty of the upcoming vote, and the pound was down 0.6 percent on $ 1.3260 on the day.
"The UK is continuing its journey through the Brexit purgatory, while Parliament is voting on a possible extension," said Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG. "An extension is anything but certain, now it's more a matter of how long."
The British pound withdrew from $ 1.3337 to $ 1.3288 in early trading. The dollar rose from 111.17 yen to 111.67 yen and the euro eased from $ 1.1326 to $ 1.1324.
In Asia, equities found equities after China said industrial output grew the slowest in 17 years. It increased 5.3 percent in the first two months of 2019 from the same period last year, official data showed Thursday.
The Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 was almost flat at 21.287.02 while the Kospi in South Korea had risen 0.3 percent at 2,155.68. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose by 0.2 percent to 28,851.39. The S&P / ASX 200 in Australia rose 0.3 percent to 6,179.60.
The Shanghai Composite gave 1.2 percent to 2,990.69. Shares fell in Taiwan and Thailand but rose in Indonesia.
CURRENCIES: The euro fell 0.2 percent to $ 1,198 while the dollar rose 0.4 percent to 111.64 yen.
ENERGY: oil prices were pushed up by a weekly report from the US Energy Information Administration, which showed that raw stocks fell by 3.9 million barrels compared to the previous week. This marked the second fall in three weeks. US benchmark benchmark rose 29 cents to $ 58.55 a barrel in e-commerce on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude oil, used to price international oils, added 41 cents to $ 67.96 a barrel to trade.