European Shares Seen Up As British PM Signs Brexit Letter

European stocks are set to open higher on Wednesday as investors await the formal move by the U.K. to leave the European Union and sever a political relationship that has lasted 44 years.

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday signed the historic letter invoking Article 50 that will be sent to the European Union later today. There will be a two-year negotiating window before Britain actually leaves the bloc.

The British pound suffered fresh losses as the dollar pulled away from 4-1/2-month lows against a basket of currencies on data showing strong gains in U.S. consumer confidence as well as upbeat comments from Federal Reserve officials.

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer told CNBC that he sees the central bank raising rates two more times this year.

On the other hand, Fed Governor Jerome Powell said that the scope, the timing and the contents of fiscal policy remain pretty uncertain following last week’s House health care debacle.

Asian stocks rose broadly as the yen retreated on downbeat retail sales data and oil extended overnight gains due to an outage in Libya.

In corporate news, German banking giant Deutsche Bank could be in focus after its U.K. subsidiary Deutsch DB Group Services agreed to pay a record $775 million in fines for rigging interest rates in a multi-bank conspiracy.

Overnight, U.S. stocks rose notably after a report showed consumer confidence in March hit its highest level in 16 years.

The Dow gained 0.7 percent to snap an eight-session losing streak, while the Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 rose 0.6 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.

European markets also moved to the upside on Tuesday as investors
shifted focus to the prospects for the Trump administration’s plan to cut taxes.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index advanced 0.60 percent. The German DAX rallied 1.3 percent, France’s CAC 40 index rose 0.6 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 added 0.7 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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