£ 3 month low, Markets-Stocks Slide as Pound Drops on Brexit Deadlock

Global stocks retreated from an all-time high and the pound weakened the most in three months on concern that Brexit talks could collapse.

The pound slid 1.3% against the dollar with officials on both sides pessimistic about the prospect of a breakthrough. Banks and retailers led losses in the Stoxx 600 Index, while the export-heavy FTSE 100 Index climbed 0.5%.

A British official warned that talks over a future trade deal with the European Union could fail on Monday unless negotiators make progress in the next few hours. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to speak to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday evening and that conversation will be a make-or-break moment, another U.K. official said.

Outside of Europe, markets were generally weaker. S&P 500 futures slipped 0.4%. Intel Corp. dropped on a report that Apple Inc. is planning a series of new Mac processors aimed at outperforming Intel’s fastest chips.

Investors are also closely monitoring for any sign that U.S. lawmakers are nearing an agreement on another stimulus bill. President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will come “on board” with a $908 billion package to provide pandemic relief, Senator Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

In Asia, news that the U.S. could sanction at least a dozen more Chinese official for their role in recent disqualification of Hong Kong legislators pushed shares lower. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index closed down 0.3%.

“There are uncertainties that weigh on sentiment -- the U.S. sanction on China, the U.S. fiscal plan that’s yet to be endorsed, and a Brexit deal that didn’t happen over the weekend,” said Mohit Kumar, a strategist at Jefferies International. “Any pullback from last week may be shallow though as overall, I think the market remains optimistic that we will get a fiscal deal and a Brexit deal this week.

Crude oil and gold declined as the dollar strengthened, while the yield on the 10-year Treasury hovered around 0.9%.

Here are some key events coming up:

Thursday brings the European Central Bank policy decision and a press briefing from Christine Lagarde. Economists widely expect the central bank to increase and extend its pandemic bond-buying program.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration meets to discuss the vaccine made by Pfizer/BioNTech on Thursday. If the FDA authorizes emergency use, Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said vaccine distribution could begin within 24 hours.


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