Clock Ticking On Brexit Deal, Still No Agreement On Stimulus Package

European markets are mixed this morning as the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier warns there are mere hours left to secure a trade deal between the UK and the bloc. Sterling has dipped by 0.5% against the dollar, which in turn has helped the FTSE 100 gain by a similar amount due to its overseas earning contingent. Both sides have always talked about compromise but also failed to cede ground on certain issues, making it look more likely the UK could leave without a deal at the end of the year.

US stocks were up on Thursday despite another week of increases for initial jobless claim figures, as lawmakers pushed to get a pandemic relief bill over the line before Christmas. There are still disputes to be resolved, with The Washington Post reporting that talks appear likely to drag into the weekend. The role of the Federal Reserve is currently a sticking point, as is exactly where relief funds will be distributed. Jobless claim figures show the ever-increasing need for another stimulus package, with the latest week of data showing 885,000 people filed for first-time unemployment benefits.

In corporate news, FedEx (FDX) made waves on Thursday as it beat earnings and revenue estimates in its quarterly release. However, the firm declined to provide an earnings forecast for 2021, sending its shares down more than 3% in after-hours trading. In its latest quarter, FedEx sales topped $20bn for the first time, with profits more than double the same quarter last year, as it has benefited from a surge in online purchases.

Elsewhere, the revival in commodity markets continues apace, with copper, the world’s most important industrial metal, posting a huge rally from its March lows, climbing more than 70% to a seven-year high above $7,900 a tonne.

The metal has been in huge demand as it is vital to help build out green energy networks and electric vehicles. Other commodities are also higher following a tumultuous year, with gold holding firm at $1,884 and Brent crude oil back above $50, trading at $51 overnight.

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