London markets were down as a Brexit extension had next to no positive impact on investors.
How did markets perform?
The FTSE 100
was down a mere 0.1% to 7,416.7. It closed down almost 0.1% Wednesday.
declined 0.1% to $1.3077, giving back some of its Wednesday gain of 0.3%.
What’s moving the markets?
Various asset classes across Europe reacted to a busy news day with stoicism. There was no relief rally in U.K. equities or in the pound, despite the threat of a no-deal Brexit being kicked down the road to October 31 by European Union leaders on Wednesday night. With U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May asking for a short extension, French President Emmanuel Macron demanding a short one and European Council President Donald Tusk recommending they take their time, the EU split the difference, prolonging the uncertainty for business and highlighting the absence of a way out of the mess. Little wonder markets tuned out of the whole thing.
In central bank news, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi was content to let his March speech keep on ringing in investors’ ears, as he abstained Wednesday from offering new information about potentially introducing tiered rates. Instead, after the ECB confirmed it would keep its policy rate unchanged, Draghi emphasized that the European economy wasn’t yet in such dire straits that such policies were necessary. Tiered rates would exempt certain types of bank deposits from negative rates and stimulate lending, but some central bankers in Europe have criticized the idea as favoring certain types of lenders over others. In the U.S., the March Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes were also free of surprises.
Which stocks are active?
In the U.K., the main beneficiaries of Brexit relief were the beaten down airlines, as travelers could book holidays without fear of being stranded by no deal (at least for a few months). EasyJet PLC
led the way rallying 4%, while International Consolidated Airlines
rose 3.9%, TUI AG
was up 2.9% and Ryanair Holdings
Listed hedge-fund manager Man Group PLC
was down 0.5% after reporting first quarter earnings. Its assets under management increased to $112.3 billion because of positive investment performance, but investors in the shares were likely less thrilled about the $700 million in net outflows
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