European Markets End Higher; U.K. Eases Ahead Of No Confidence Vote

( - European markets ended mostly higher on Wednesday, even as the U.K. market drifted lower ahead of the no confidence vote against Prime Minister Theresa May following the crushing defeat her Brexit plan suffered in Parliament yesterday.

The defeat of May's Brexit plan has opened up various possibilities now. There could be a second referendum on Brexit or an extension of the deadline for Article 50, or new elections.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended nearly 0.5 percent up. Bank shares were among the prominent gainers in European markets today amid talks of possible mergers of some struggling Italian lenders.

Germany's DAX ended up 0.36 percent. Deutsche Bank spurted more than 8.25 percent. Lufthansa gained 3.5 percent. Covestro, Deutsche Post, Heidelberg Cement, Deutsche Boerse and Fresenius ST gained 1.3 to 2.5 percent.

The CAC 40 of the French stock market ended up 0.51 percent. Prominent gainers in the French market included Societe Generale and Credit Agricole, which moved up by 4.15 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

BNP Paribas surged up 3.3 percent. Peugeot also gained 3.3 percent. Capgemini ended nearly 3 percent up and Unibail Rodamco added 2.15 percent. Renault, ST Microelectronics, AXA, Atos, Valeo, Accor and Veolia Environment gained 1 to 1.75 percent.

Switzerland's benchmark SMI ended up 0.51 percent, riding on gains in Roche Holding and Geberit.

The U.K.'sFTSE 100 ended down 0.47 percent with investors treading cautiously ahead of the no confidence vote on Theresa May's government.

Pearson and Reckitt Benckiser shed about 6 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively. Fresnillo ended nearly 3 percent down and Associated British Foods eased 2.3 percent. Unilever, Royal Dutch Shell, Hargreaves Lansdown, Sage, Glencore, Glaxo SmithKline and Compass also ended notably lower.

Taylor Wimpey, Capita, Persimmon, Royal Mail, Marks & Spencer, Travis Perkins and Barrat Developments gained 4 to 6 percent.

Ireland, Poland, Spain and Sweden ended notably higher. Turkish shares rose sharply, driving the BIST 100 index up by 2.4 percent. Italy ended 1.6 percent up.

In economic news from Eurozone, German consumer price inflation eased for a second straight month in December to its lowest level in eight months, latest figures from the Federal Statistical Office confirmed.

The consumer price index rose 1.7 percent year-on-year following a 2.3 percent increase in November. The latest inflation figure was the lowest since April, when price growth was 1.6 percent, same as in March.

Britain's annual inflation dropped 2.1 percent in December, the least in almost two years, from 2.3 percent in November, official data showed.

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