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Good morning. The Brexit stalemate remains despite another night of voting in the U.K. Parliament, stocks declined in much of Asia amid a continued slump in bond yields, Turkey remains in focus following a wild day on Wednesday and Swedbank faces up to investors amid growing money-laundering allegations. Here’s what’s moving markets. 


After yet another night of voting in U.K. parliament, the next step for Brexit remains unknown. What is clear is that Theresa May’s divorce deal still doesn’t have sufficient backing, even after she offered to quit this summer if the deal is ratified, and that support for a harder Brexit route is waning. In fact, the proposal that secured the most support was a plan to submit any deal to a confirmatory public referendum. Hours earlier, European Council President Donald Tusk advocated for the European Parliament to consider a long extension to Article 50, if necessary – “They are Europeans,” and they should not be betrayed, he said of the millions of Britons who’ve recently petitioned against the divorce. The U.K. has two weeks to go to the EU with a plan for its next steps. The pound is steady after fluctuating overnight. 


It could be a down day in Europe’s equities after stocks declined again across much of Asia, with Japan headed for its first monthly decline this year as a sharp decline in sovereign bond yields continues to unnerve investors over the global economic outlook. The European Central Bank’s chief economist said there needs to be a solid monetary-policy case before officials act to mitigate side effects of negative interest rates on banks. That said, the euro is marginally higher today. In individual stocks, keep an eye on Bayer AG after the German conglomerate  lost a second trial over claims its Roundup weed killer causes cancer.

Turkish Tremors

Turkey will remain in focus today after the country’s stocks plunged the most since July 2016 in reaction to government measures aimed at preventing banks from facilitating deals that lead to a decline in the lira ahead an election that will test support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rule. The measures are forcing investors who want out of their lira positions to instead sell other Turkish assets to access the funds they need close those trades. The cost of borrowing liras overnight on the offshore swap market soared past 1,000 percent at one point. Here’s a good explanation of what on earth is going on

Swedbank Sweats

Scrutiny by investors at annual general meetings doesn’t get much more intense than this. Swedbank AB holds its AGM after  allegations of money laundering by the bank exploded on Wednesday as Sweden’s main broadcaster published a report alleging the bank misled U.S. authorities. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was among those to have reportedly received suspicious payments through the lender. The bank’s headquarters were also raided by Sweden’s Economic Crime Authority as part of a probe into whether it breached insider information rules by giving its biggest shareholders advance notice of money laundering allegations. Swedbank’s shares are down about 22 percent year-to-date, and more drama could be in store later. 

Coming Up…

European Central Bank speakers are out in their numbers across the continent again after President Mario Draghi’s remarks on Wednesday and Praet’s this morning. Inflation data from Germany is due after the country sold benchmark debt at a negative yield for the first time since 2016. A final reading of U.S. fourth-quarter gross domestic product is expected to show the second-straight quarterly deceleration was slightly sharper than previously reported. 

What We’ve Been Reading

This is what’s caught our eye over the past 24 hours.

  • These guys have made a lot of cheese.
  • Here’s how the gender gap has changed in recent decades.
  • The French bank that lost almost $300 million to an Asian black hole. 
  • Secretive North Korea agitators took hostages in Spain embassy raid.
  • Flat-hunting in Amsterdam just got harder. 
  • “Bum bag” or “fanny pack” – whatever, they’re here to stay.
  • Burger chain puts its brand name on a diet. 

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