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European markets higher ahead of crucial Brexit votes

European stocks

European stocks were higher ahead of crucial Brexit votes this week

European markets are expected to open higher on Monday ahead of crucial votes in the U.K. that will determine whether the country’s Brexit deal and departure from the EU will be approved, rejected or delayed.

London’s FTSE is expected to open 42 points higher at 7,146, the French CAC is seen 24 points higher at 5,255 and the German DAX is seen 45 points higher at 11,502, according to IG.

This is a crucial week for European stocks and sterling with Brexit at the forefront of investors’ minds. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a crunch series of votes this week that will determine the course of Brexit. On Tuesday, U.K. lawmakers are voting on whether to accept her Brexit deal or not.

If they reject it, they will get a vote on Wednesday on whether to leave the EU without a deal. If they reject that option too, Members of Parliament (MPs) will then get to vote on whether to delay Brexit. If that is approved, the U.K. will have to ask the EU for more time to re-negotiate the deal.

So far, there has been little movement from the EU to re-open talks over the deal although the bloc signaled it was willing to give more assurances over the contentious Irish ‘backstop’ issue that has so far been a big stumbling block to support for the Brexit deal.

Brexit is expected to dominate a Eurogroup meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Monday ahead of an Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) meeting of all EU finance ministers on Tuesday.

European bank stocks will be in focus after reports that Deutsche Bank has agreed to merger talks with rival Commerzbank, with Berlin said to back a tie-up despite the risk of a huge financial shortfall, sources told Reuters.

In U.S. news, President Donald Trump on Monday is reportedly ready to ask the U.S. Congress for an additional $8.6 billion to help pay for his promised wall on the U.S-Mexico border to combat illegal immigration and drug trafficking, officials familiar with his 2020 budget request told Reuters.

On the data front, Germany is set to release monthly industrial figures for January. There are no major earnings reports Monday.

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