U.S. Stocks Rise on News of China Stimulus; Theresa May’s Brexit Deal Falters in British Parliament
Wall Street and global stocks bounced back on Tuesday, as investors rallied behind a renewed stimulus push from the Chinese government in the wake of dismal trade figures earlier in the week. Meanwhile, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal was swiftly rejected by British parliament, setting the stage for a tumultuous two months.
All of Wall Street’s major indexes bounced back on Tuesday from a slow start to the week. The S&P 500 Index gained 1.1% to 2,610.30, with nine of 11 primary sectors reporting gains. Technology, health care and communication services were the best performers. Surging tech shares lifted the Nasdaq Composite Index to a gain of 1.7%, where it closed at 7,023.84. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 155.75 points or 0.7%, to close at 24,065.59.
European and Asian markets also reported firm gains. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose 0.6% to 6,895.02. The pan-European Stoxx 600 finished 0.4% higher at 348.71.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 1% to 20,555.29. Mainland China markets surged 2%, with the CSI 300 Index closing at 3,127.99.
China Pledges More Stimulus
The rally in global stocks on Tuesday was partly owed to a renewed pledge by the Chinese government to stimulate a moribund economy. China’s finance ministry has announced a new plan to cut taxes and increase federal expenditures this year in an attempt to combat weaker growth. Meanwhile, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said it will make monetary policy more forward-looking and ensure that markets don’t face a liquidity crunch in the future.
In reality, China’s economic slowdown appears to be inevitable as Beijing shifts from exports and manufacturing toward consumption and services. This generational transition will likely see GDP growth decline further in the coming yeas as China’s middle class continues to grow. However, the presence of asset bubbles and a worsening trade outlook could hasten the decline.
May’s Brexit Deal a No-Go
British lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday, setting the stage for a political fallout that could threaten the U.K.’s planned exit from the European Union in March.
The Brexit deal was soundly rejected in British parliament by a vote of 432 to 202. The scale of the defeat highlighted the extreme opposition facing the prime minister from both sides of the political divide. By failing to agree on the terms of Brexit, the U.K. faces an uncertain future with respect to the EU.
May still has three options for salvaging an exit agreement: (1) negotiate new terms with the EU and table a slightly different proposal; (2) hold a second referendum; and (3) call a general election.
Since taking over from David Cameron in 2016, May has faced an uphill battle satisfying living up to the hard Brexit mandate while also satisfying the pro-EU opposition. A botched early election in 2017 relegated her party to minority status in Parliament, which further complicated matters.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.