Global stocks weak as bellwether companies warn on outlook

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Global equities were mixed as investors processed updates from a handful of bellwether companies and fallout from yesterday’s parliament vote on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.

Futures for the S&P 500 were down 0.1 per cent, as industrial stalwarts Caterpillar and Boeing delivered underwhelming third-quarter results, with the former cutting its outlook for the year.

US government bonds were supported with the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury down 2.6 basis points at 1.7397 per cent.

Nasdaq 100 futures were fractionally higher, while those for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, in which Caterpillar and Boeing are components, were fractionally lower.

The potentially mixed open for Wall Street follows declines in Europe, where the broad Stoxx 600 was down 0.2 per cent, France’s Cac 40 fell 0.4 per cent and Germany’s Dax shed less than 0.1 per cent.

London’s FTSE 100 led gains in the region, up 0.3 per cent a day after UK lawmakers voted for the first time for a Brexit deal when they backed Boris Johnson’s agreement with the EU.

The pound edged back from the highs of the week but still hovered not that far off its best level since May, leaving it 0.1 per cent higher to $1.2883. Late on Tuesday, parliament supported the prime minister’s deal to withdraw the UK from the EU, but then voted against an accelerated timetable for its departure.

A general election is back on the agenda. Against the euro the pound was at €1.158. The pound has risen to as high as €1.1660 over the past few days, the highest level since May 8.

“While there are a number of hurdles still to be overcome, there is a feeling that a majority now exists for the deal,” said Rob Carnell, chief Asia-Pacific economist at ING.

In Asia, Japan’s Topix was the only major index in positive territory, rising 0.6 per cent. SoftBank reversed earlier losses with a 0.9 per cent gain after the board of real estate company WeWork backed a takeover by the Japanese technology and telecoms conglomerate. 

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.8 per cent after it was reported that Beijing was seeking to replace the territory’s under fire chief executive Carrie Lam on the back of months of political unrest. The CSI 300 benchmark of Shanghai- and Shenzhen-listed names edged 0.6 per cent lower. 

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Markets Briefing is a concise look at global markets, updated throughout the trading day by Financial Times journalists in Hong Kong, New York and London. Feedback? Write in the comments below or send us an email.

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