European markets are heading towards a broadly flat open Thursday as investors digest the latest Brexit vote in the U.K. Parliament ruling out a no-deal departure from the block.
London’s FTSE is seen 8 points lower at 7,150, the German DAX down 5 points at 11,566 and the French CAC down 2 points at 5,304, according to IG.
Market participants will be looking at the significance of the latest Brexit development on Thursday. Last night, U.K. lawmakers rejected the idea of leaving the European Union without a Brexit deal in place on March 29, setting up another vote Thursday on whether its official departure date should be extended. MPs also narrowly backed an amendment that rejected a no-deal Brexit in any circumstance.
A no-deal exit was widely expected to be defeated as most MPs (Members of Parliament) want to avoid the economic uncertainty and trade disruptions that it could cause. In Thursday’s vote, MPs are expected to approve a delay to the scheduled departure on March 29.
What the EU will make of the U.K.‘s latest manoeuvres over Brexit remains to be seen, so far the bloc has shown increasing weariness at the U.K.’s lack of clarity over what kind of Brexit it wants. MPs voted at the start of the week to reject Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
Asia Pacific markets traded mixed on Thursday after data showed growth in China’s industrial output fell to a 17-year low in the first two months of the year, pointing to further signs of weakness in the world’s second largest economy.
In other news, the U.S. has grounded Boeing’s 737 MAX jets as regulators cite links between two fatal crashes over the past five months, the last one on Sunday when an Ethiopian Airlines crash killed all 157 people on board.
Oil is also in focus today as OPEC releases its latest monthly report on supply and demand dynamics in global oil markets. Oil prices nudged higher on Thursday to sit just off a four-month high reached in the previous session as investors focused on global production cuts and supply disruptions in Venezuela, Reuters reported.