Stocks, pound rally as tweaked Brexit deal soothes investor worries

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 12, 2019 - Duration: 01:26s

Stocks, pound rally as tweaked Brexit deal soothes investor worries

Last-minute tweaks to Britain's deal to leave the EU triggered gains across global stocks and propelled sterling higher on Tuesday, soothing investor worries about a possible no-deal exit that has unnerved financial markets in recent months.

David Pollard reports.

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Stocks, pound rally as tweaked Brexit deal soothes investor worries

Anxious times for Britain ahead of a crunch Brexit vote on Tuesday.

This was late Monday: Theresa May in Strasbourg - obtaining some last-minute concessions on the UK-EU divorce agreement.

Enough at least to keep some ministers on side.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITAIN'S FOREIGN MINISTER, JEREMY HUNT, SAYING: "These are legally significant changes.

I hope parliament will see that the Prime Minister has listened to parliament's concerns about the backstop." (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITAIN'S SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, PENNY MORDAUNT, SAYING: "My message to colleagues today is to support this deal.

It's the only way we can really guarantee to deliver Brexit." The last-minute tweaks to the deal drove sterling up more than one and half per cent from Monday's lows.

Gains in Asian equities extended to Europe, where the pan-European STOXX 600 moved into the black.

(SOUNDBITE) (German) HEAD OF CAPITAL MARKET ANALYSIS AT BAADER BANK, ROBERT HALVER, SAYING: "The Frankfurt stock exchange is a bit more optimistic because the British parliament might approve a Brexit deal after all." Though - as the clock ticked down to a vote due at around 1900gmt - it was unclear whether May would get sufficient support to get the deal through.

And even if she does, lawmakers may still decide a Brexit delay beyond March 29th is necessary.

In the meantime, new data shows the economy picked up in January.

UK services more than reversed their December fall and there was a turnaround in manufacturing.

If, possibly, only temporary .... Bank of England projections see Britain as on course for its weakest growth in 10 years in 2019.

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