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Stocks Slip on Brexit, Trade Worries

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10/16/2019 | 06:50am EST

By Will Horner

U.S. stock futures and European equities slipped Wednesday as concerns lingered over Brexit talks and the prospect of a U.S.-China trade deal.

Stock futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.3%. Changes in futures don't necessarily predict moves after the opening bell.

The pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 index edged 0.1% lower as talks toward a draft plan for Britain to leave the European Union continued. Investors had been anticipating positive news to emerge overnight but were disappointed by a lack of progress Wednesday, said Peter Dixon, a senior economist at Commerzbank.

"We were told there would be a deadline of midnight last night, both sides sounded very positive. Then we woke up and it was still a work in progress and I think that has changed investors' perceptions of where we are," he said.

Even if a deal is reached, questions remained about whether the British Parliament, others cautioned.

"It does look like there is progress but there are hurdles to get something agreed with the EU and then it will be difficult to get it through Parliament," said Christopher Peel, chief investment officer at Tavistock Investments.

The British pound, which had hit a four-month high against the U.S. dollar a day earlier, fell 0.3%, while the FTSE 100 gauge for U.K. equities slipped 0.1% and the broader FTSE 250 fell 0.5%.

U.S. stock futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.3%. Changes in futures don't necessarily predict moves after the opening bell.

Chinese stocks edged lower on concerns that tensions with the U.S. over the Hong Kong protests would make striking a trade deal more complicated.

The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.4% after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a series of bills backing pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, drawing a strong rebuke from China. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman warned the U.S. against meddling in Chinese affairs and said the bill would damage relations between the two nations.

The development may complicate efforts to reach a trade agreement, analysts said.

"We got sideswiped by those headlines from China," said Stephen Innes, a market strategist for currency broker AxiTrader in Bangkok. "I'm not sure much is going to actually come from it, but it's just another thing to deal with."

Later Wednesday, the focus will shift to a swath of earnings reports from some of the U.S.'s biggest bellwethers, including Bank of America and PNC Financial Services Group, before Wall Street opens. IBM and Netflix will also report their third-quarter earnings after markets close in the U.S.

Investors will also get fresh cues on the health of the U.S. economy when the Commerce Department releases data on retail sales, providing an indication of whether American household spending remains a bulwark against signs of a global slowdown.

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BANK OF AMERICA CORPORATION -0.06% 32.94 Delayed Quote.33.77%
CHINA-SHANGHAI COMP 0.85% 2933.99 End-of-day quote.17.46%
COMMERZBANK AG -0.64% 5.094 Delayed Quote.-11.22%
DJ INDUSTRIAL -0.36% 27934.02 Delayed Quote.20.19%
EURO / BRITISH POUND (EUR/GBP) 0.04% 0.85707 Delayed Quote.-4.92%
FTSE 100 INDEX 0.28% 7234.11 End-of-day quote.0.00%
NASDAQ 100 0.12% 8338.737307 Delayed Quote.31.37%
NASDAQ COMP. 0.24% 8570.658078 Delayed Quote.28.72%
NETFLIX 0.01% 302.6 Delayed Quote.13.05%
PNC FINANCIAL SERVICES GROUP 0.01% 151.72 Delayed Quote.29.78%
S&P 500 -0.06% 3120.18 Delayed Quote.24.47%
STOXX EUROPE 600 -0.57% 403.14 Delayed Quote.20.25%
STOXX EUROPE 600 NR -0.57% 869.06 Delayed Quote.23.67%
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