(RTTNews.com) - European stocks look set to open on a mixed note on Thursday after the British Parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly backed Prime Minister Theresa May's plan to hold a snap general election on June 8.
Investors also await this weekend's first round of presidential voting in France, with opinion polls suggesting that the election will be a close call. Millions of French voters are still undecided, making it one of the most unpredictable elections in decades.
The dollar edged away from recent lows and U.S. Treasury yields inched higher after the U.S. Federal Reserve's Beige Book economic report noted fairly widespread optimism in the manufacturing sector between the period of mid-February and the end of March.
Japanese exports rose at the fastest pace in more than two years in March, a government report showed, in a sign of optimism for the world's third largest economy.
Elsewhere, the kiwi dollar climbed after official data showed New Zealand inflation jumped an annual 2.2 percent in the first quarter of 2017, finally hitting the central bank's target mid-point of around 2 percent for the first time in five-and-a-half years.
Overnight, U.S. stocks ended mixed as the decline in oil prices weighed on energy shares and IBM reported a bigger-than-expected decline in quarterly revenue.
The Dow dropped 0.6 percent to hit a two-month closing low and the S&P 500 slid 0.2 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.2 percent.
American Express posted a better-than-expected first-quarter profit after the U.S. closing bell and Qualcomm's quarterly revenue and profit beat analysts' estimate, while eBay's second quarter outlook came in below expectations.
European stocks closed mostly higher on Wednesday, driven by gains in banks and automakers. The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.2 percent.
The German DAX inched up 0.1 percent and France's CAC 40 index rose 0.3 percent while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 dropped half a percent.
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