KEEPING SCORE: German's DAX was flat at 11,417 and France's CAC 40 shed 0.3 percent to 5,054. London's FTSE 100 gained 0.1 percent to 7,038, as a sharp drop in the pound pushed up the share price of multinationals that make most of their money outside the country.
On Wall Street, futures for the Standard & Poor's 500 index and Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.3 percent.
ASIA'S DAY: The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.4 percent to 2,668.17 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.7 percent to 26,103.34. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 shed 0.2 percent to 21,803.62 and Seoul's Kospi advanced 1 percent to 2,088.06. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 added 3 points to 5,736.00. India's Sensex rose 0.6 percent to 35,339.44. Bangkok and New Zealand retreated while Taiwan and other Southeast Asian markets rose.
BREXIT: British Prime Minister Theresa May persuaded a majority in her Cabinet to back an agreement to separate from the European Union. The deal would allow Britain to stay in a customs union while a trade treaty is negotiated. It was unclear, however, whether Parliament will approve it and discord soon erupted, with several government officials, including the Brexit minister, resigning. The pound fell 1.4 percent, a wide margin for a developed economy's currency.
ANALYST'S TAKE: "Despite the U.K. Cabinet backing the new Brexit draft plan, the boost for markets had been short-lived with the sea of worries overruling sentiment," said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 4 cents to $56.21 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 56 cents on Wednesday to close at $56.25. Brent crude, used to price international oils, advanced 44 cents to $66.56 per barrel in London. It gained 65 cents the previous session to $66.12.
CURRENCY: The dollar weakened to 113.44 yen from Wednesday's 113.63 yen. The euro was steady at $1.1311.
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