Here’s What to Watch in European Stocks This Morning

(Bloomberg) -- Good morning. Here’s what we’re watching ahead of the market open in Europe, including...

Brexit Battle Ground

There’s much more back-and-forth to come on U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan and the alternatives: delaying the exit, a second referendum or crashing out without a deal. May is facing a series of votes on possible alternatives measures to be taken if lawmakers reject her deal for a second time, but it won’t be until after the meaningful vote sequel on Tuesday that a modicum of clarity may start to reveal itself on the way forward. Volatility in the pound and U.K. stocks seems assured for another week, even if some money managers reckon the sterling rally is overcooked.

Everybody’s Talkin’

The U.S. and China will get back in the room where it happens and try to make some more progress in ending the trade war that has entrenched itself among the central risks underlying the gloom in stock markets since the middle of last year. One would be foolish to expect too much tangible or substantial to come from the talks this week, but there will certainly be tidbits for markets to chew over. As if you hadn't already been doing so, watch those trade-sensitive sectors for any reaction as we learn more.

Sanctions Lifted

The U.S. Treasury has lifted sanctions on three companies tied to Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska. The most important one of those is United Co. Rusal, as this is likely to have a significant impact on the aluminum market and, indeed, the price of the metal dropped in London following the announcement. Separately, another of the companies involved, EN+, has done a securities swap with London-listed mining group Glencore Plc under which the latter will get a bigger slice of the business. Watch all involved when trading gets under way in Europe.

Qatari Help

The Qatar sovereign wealth fund is said to be planning to increase its stake in Deutsche Bank AG, a vote of confidence likely to be welcomed after a rough 2018 for the German lender and ahead of what are likely to be pretty stodgy fourth-quarter results, based on the numbers flowing out of the American investment banking contingent. Support too for the Alstom SA-Siemens AG rail merger from French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who took to Twitter to urge competition authorities to pass the deal as the two companies try to find remedies.

Retail Bloodbath

The consensus appears to be that Christmas wasn’t as bad as the very low expectations had pointed to for the retail industry. The signs straight after the festive season, however, are devoid of optimism. Tesco Plc, the grocer and one of the U.K.’s largest private-sector employers, is said to be planning to cull 15,000 jobs, the latest in a slew of cuts being made by retail names across Europe. That follows a report late last week from the Confederation of British Industry that painted a similarly bleak picture

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