European Stocks Head South as Britain's May Suffers Brexit Setback

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European equity benchmarks were extending declines on the penultimate trading day of the week after British Prime Minister Theresa May's progress on Brexit suffered a blow after lawmakers voted by a narrow majority to have the power to veto the final deal which is struck between the UK and Brussels prior to Britain's withdrawal from the European Union (EU).

Members of parliament voted by 309-to-305 late on Wednesday in favor of an amendment guaranteeing them a final say on whether or not to accept the Brexit deal that May's team of negotiators strikes with politicians and diplomats in the EU. Britain's decision to leave the Bloc followed a nationwide referendum held in June 2016 which preceeded former Prime Minister David Cameron's resignation. Britain officially began the process of departing from the EU in March this year, thus beginning a two-year count-down to the end of its membership in the Bloc.

In economic news, UK retail sales got a boost from Black Friday activities in November, according to data published by the Office for National Statistics ( ONS ). The quantity of retail sales bought in November rose by 1.1% compared to in October with rising sales of electrical household appliances among key contributing factors.

In equities, financial services providers Standard Life Aberdeen and HSBC were 1.8% and 1.4% lower, respectively, on London's FTSE 100 Index while credit ratings agency Experian and Bunzl, a distribution and outsourcing company, were both 1.4% lower.

On Frankfurt's DAX, athletic apparel retailer adidas was 1.7% lower, kidney dialysis company Fresenius was also down by 1.7% and Deutsche Boerse was down by 1.4%. Infineon, a semiconductor company, was 1.1% lower. And, on Paris' CAC-40, Safran, a manufacturer of engines, was 2.4% lower, leading decliners on the index, followed by Airbus, an aircraft parts maker, which was down by 1.2% and STMicroelectronics, 1.0% lower. LafargeHolcim was 0.9% lower.

Oil prices were mixed after US government data showed a slightly smaller-than-expected decline in weekly US stockpiles of oil last week. US inventories fell by 5.1 million barrels last week compared to the American Petroleum Institute's forecast for a drop of 7.4 million barrels. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, the main US oil benchmark, was 0.02% lower at $56.59 per barrel while Brent crude, the international gauge, was 0.2% higher at $62.56 per barrel.

The Stoxx 600 Index was 0.14% lower, London's FTSE 100 Index was down by 0.18%, Frankfurt's DAX was 0.29% lower and Paris' CAC-40 was 0.21% lower at the time of writing.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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