Sterling retreats below US$1.30 ahead of key Brexit votes

Showdown in Westminster

Showdown in Westminster

European shares eked out small gains on Tuesday as talk of progress in China-U.S. trade talks was offset by mixed corporate earnings, while sterling held below $1.30 ahead of another crucial Brexit vote.

French speciality minerals company Imerys slipped 11.8% after cutting its outlook for 2019, and Norway's Aker BP moved 1.7% lower as it slashed its full-year oil output target.

In Switzerland, drugmaker Novartis raised its 2019 target and reported better-than-expected revenue, while Apple supplier AMS climbed 6% as demand from smartphone makers boosted operating profit.

British household goods maker Reckitt Benckiser was moored to the bottom of the pan-European STOXX index with a 5 per cent fall after it cut its full-year sales forecast for the second time this year.

Swedish defence firm Saab gained 7% to lead the STOXX 600 after reporting third-quarter operating earnings well ahead of market forecasts and affirming its view that operating cashflow this year would improve versus 2018.

A holiday in Tokyo kept turnover light and MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added a modest 0.3%. South Korean stocks .KS11 rose 0.4%, while E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 ESc1 were little changed.

US President Donald Trump sounded upbeat on a China deal on Monday, while White House adviser Larry Kudlow said tariffs on Chinese goods scheduled for December could be withdrawn if talks go well.

Ten-year government bond yields across the euro zone were down 1 basis point on the day, . MPs will first vote at 1800 GMT on whether they support the bill in principle and if that passes, they will vote again at 1830 GMT on the timetable of the bill.

The greenback's retreat over the past three weeks was also evident against the Canadian dollar, which scaled fresh 3-month highs even as Canada's prime minister, Justin Trudeau, lost his majority in Monday's federal election.

The euro paused after its recent run higher and was last trading quietly at $1.1151 EUR= .

"If the House of Commons votes in favour of the deal, GBP/USD could rally towards $1.3500 over the medium term".

Sterling slipped 0.1% to $1.2947 in early London trading. Lawmakers could also decide to rule out a no-deal Brexit at the end of the transition period in December 2020 if the United Kingdom and the European Union have not reached a post-Brexit trade agreement by then.

The Canadian dollar kept its recent gains at C$1.3080 per US dollar as CBC TV predicted the ruling Liberal government of Justin Trudeau had won re-election.

In commodity markets, spot gold was idling at $1,483.70 per ounce XAU= .

Brent crude LCOc1 futures inched up 7 cents to $59.03, while USA crude CLc1 added 9 cents to $53.40 a barrel.

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