European stock markets today: Brexit talks stutter


European stock markets today: Brexit talks stutter

LONDON — European markets were mixed on Friday morning as British and European leaders strike pessimistic tones about the prospect of agreeing to a post-Brexit trade deal.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 hovered either side of the flatline in early trade, with travel and leisure stocks sliding 0.8% while basic resources added 0.7%.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Thursday that talks were in a “serious situation” and a deal is unlikely unless the EU is willing to alter its position on fisheries, a long-standing spanner in the works.

The remarks came following a call with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who also said reaching an accord would now be “very challenging” with two weeks remaining until the U.K. exits the EU’s orbit.

European stocks are set for a mixed handover from Asia-Pacific, where investors are reacting to the Bank of Japan’s announcement a six-month extension of its special program aimed at easing corporate financing pressures amid the coronavirus pandemic. The yield target on the 10-year Japan government bond was set at around 0%, while the short-term interest target was set to -0.1%.

Stateside, U.S. futures are indicating a lower open Friday after all three major indexes closed the previous session at record highs, fueled by Covid-19 vaccine developments and hopes of a consensus in Washington on additional fiscal stimulus.

An influential U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel on Thursday overwhelmingly approved Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, a key step towards distributing the second Covid-19 vaccine in the United States next week, having already cleared the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Meanwhile, lawmakers on Capitol Hill said they are close to an agreement that would supply $900 billion in additional aid.

On the data front, U.K. consumer confidence made its sharpest climb in eight years in December, with a survey released Friday from market research firm GfK jumping to -26 from -33 in November, as the rollout of the first Covid-19 vaccine program in the country lifted sentiment.

Germany’s closely watched Ifo business climate survey for December will be published at 9 a.m. London time.

There were no major share price moves in early trade. British payment solutions firm Network International slipped 3.3% to the bottom of the Stoxx 600, while at the other end of the index, pharmaceutical company Hikma climbed 4.2%.

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