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European shares lower ahead of Brexit face-off

European stocks were mostly lower as traders wait to see whether a Brexit deal agreed between the U.K. and EU will secure approval from British lawmakers in parliament

European stocks traded mostly lower Friday morning as traders seek signals as to whether a Brexit deal agreed between the U.K. and EU will pass muster with British lawmakers in parliament.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 pared early losses to trade 0.2% lower by mid-morning, with autos trading down 1.4% on the back of a profit warning from Renault, while media and insurance stocks each added 0.4%.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed a new Brexit deal which was unanimously backed by European Union leaders on Thursday, but must now fight to secure approval from British MPs (Members of Parliament) in a vote on Saturday if he is to succeed in taking Britain out of the bloc on October 31.

Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the coalition partner of Johnson’s ruling Conservative party, has affirmed that it will vote against the deal. The prime minister will need to secure the backing of hardline Brexiteers within his party along with 21 moderates he expelled from the party last month for voting to prevent a no-deal exit.

The British parliament’s Treasury Committee wrote to Finance Minister Sajid Javid urging him to publish updated economic forecasts of the cost of leaving under the proposed deal, Reuters reported Friday morning.

Asian markets mostly declined on Friday after China’s GDP (gross domestic product) figures showed the economy grew by 6% in the third quarter compared to a year ago, slightly slower than expected.

Earnings season remains in focus, with French automaker Renault on Thursday cutting its 2019 revenue outlook and profit forecasts citing slowdowns in Turkey and Argentina. Renault shares plunged 12.6% Friday to drag the rest of the European automotive sector into the red.

At the top of the Stoxx 600, Swedish medical technology company Getinge surged 17.6% after its third-quarter profit exceeded expectations, demonstrating continued growth and improved margins.


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