GLOBAL MARKETS-Sterling falters as Brexit approaches its endgame

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
GLOBAL MARKETS-Sterling falters as Brexit approaches its endgame
Credit: © Reuters.

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019

* Brexit negotiations resume in Brussels

* Pound edges lower

* European stocks dip

* European third-quarter earnings seen falling 3.7% y-o-y

* U.S. sanctions hit Turkish markets

(Updates prices, adds Brexit developments)

By Julien Ponthus

LONDON, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Sterling came off five-month highs and stocks traded sideways on Wednesday as the European Union and Britain sought to avert a disorderly Brexit before an EU summit on Thursday.

Hopes of a breakthrough lifted markets on Tuesday, but investors turned more cautious after looking for a deal during the night that never came.

Conflicting reports about the ongoing talks triggered a series of sharp moves on the pound. Reports that Germany might use emergency measures to counter any market panic from a hard Brexit, such as banning bets on falling share prices, also weighed on morale. of the good news that could have been anticipated has been priced in, and now there's caution it seems on whether we get a deal today or not," said Kallum Pickering, senior economist at Berenberg.

Sterling was GBP=D3 down 0.4% against the dollar with investors trading volatility levels not seen since the 2016 June Brexit referendum.

The pound had strengthened by close to 5% over the past week as investors rushed to reprice the prospect of a last-minute Brexit deal before the Oct. 31 deadline.

Euro zone government bonds were also volatile on Wednesday as investors watched the eleventh-hour talks.

German 10-year government bond yields DE10YT=RR were last flat at -0.42%, after reaching an 11-week high of -0.397% as Bunds extended a sell-off that began on Tuesday.

British government 10-year bond yields were down 2.7 basis points at 0.67%, unaffected by data showing inflation in September reached 1.7% year-on-year, below market expectations.

The pan-European STOXX 600 .STOXX retreated 0.1%, but Britain's domestically focused midcaps .FTMC , a gauge of Brexit anxiety, fell 0.8%. Ireland's ISEQ .ISEQ , another vulnerable index, lost 0.6%.

Earlier, shares rose in Asia. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS gained 0.5%. MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS was flat.

"Even though we are most optimistic that a deal does happen, we don't think the most likely outcome is that it happens by October 31, so you would be looking at some form of extension and potentially elections," said, Andrew Sheets, chief cross asset strategist at Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS ).

Third-quarter earnings are expected to show an overall decline in earnings, which could also weigh on morale, Sheets said. Morgan Stanley had a below-consensus view on how companies would fare this quarter, he said.

Europe's companies are struggling with uncertainties ranging from Brexit and the U.S.-China trade war to Germany's manufacturing recession.

Companies listed on the STOXX 600 .STOXX index are now expected to report a decline in third-quarter earnings of as much as 3.7%, worse than the 3% expected a week ago, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv.

Bloomberg reported, citing sources, that China will struggle to buy $50 billion of U.S. farm goods annually unless it removes retaliatory tariffs on American products, which would require reciprocal action by U.S. President Donald Trump.

The U.S.-China trade war will cut 2019 global growth to its slowest pace since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday.

Global gross domestic product is now expected grow 3% in 2019, the IMF said its latest World Economic Outlook projections, down from 3.2% in a July forecast, largely because of global trade friction.

U.S. stocks, which typically track the ups and downs of the trade war, were set to open in the red. S&P 500 futures ESc1 and Nasdaq futures NQc1 were both down 0.3%.

In commodities, Brent crude LCOc1 shed about 0.1 cent to $58.66 a barrel. U.S. crude CLc1 rose 10 cents to $52.91 after falling the day before over fears the trade war would keep squeezing the global economy.

In emerging markets, Turkey's Halkbank HALKB.IS saw its shares and bonds plunge after U.S. prosecutors charged the state-owned lender with taking part in a multibillion-dollar scheme to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran.

A day earlier, Washington had imposed sanctions on Turkish officials, raised tariffs and halted trade talks after Turkey invaded northeastern Syria in a campaign again Kurdish fighters.

Before Turkish markets opened, authorities banned short selling on seven large Turkish bank stocks, including Halkbank. Selling shares in the banks only to buy them later in the session was also banned, authorities said. European Q3 earnings


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