Markets

European stocks close higher despite Brexit uncertainty; Wirecard climbs 6%

Key Points
  • U.K. leader Boris Johnson was again denied a parliamentary vote on his Brexit deal on Monday. 
  • Johnson was forced to request an extension to the current Oct. 31 Brexit deadline on Saturday after lawmakers passed an amendment forcing a delay to a "meaningful" vote on his newly negotiated divorce deal.
  • A verdict from the EU could come as early as Monday, while Johnson will be seeking to pass his deal in British parliament early this week.

European stocks closed higher on Monday, despite fresh uncertainty as U.K. leader Boris Johnson was denied a parliamentary vote on his Brexit deal.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was 0.7% above the flatline at the closing bell, with basic resources and banks surging 2% while food and beverages stocks slipped 0.3%.

In the U.K.'s Parliament on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was prevented from holding a key vote on the Brexit withdrawal deal he recently agreed with Brussels. The motion for a vote was rejected by House Speaker John Bercow, who said it was not a parliamentary convention to ask politicians to debate the same questions repeatedly.

It came after Johnson was begrudgingly forced to request an extension to the current October 31 Brexit deadline on Saturday after a cross-party group of lawmakers passed an amendment forcing a delay to a "meaningful" vote on his newly-negotiated divorce deal.

It remains to be seen whether the EU will accept the request contained in Johnson's unsigned letter, which would push the Brexit deadline to January 31 and open the door for a new U.K. general election. Some European leaders have voiced reluctance to give Britain more time, though an orderly exit is widely accepted as being least damaging scenario for both the U.K. and the EU.

A verdict from the EU could come as early as Monday, while Johnson will be seeking to pass his deal in British Parliament early this week. The British government insisted on Sunday that the country will leave the EU on Oct. 31 despite Johnson's letter, though Britain's Sunday Times newspaper reported that the EU will delay until February 2020 if Johnson fails to pass his deal with domestic lawmakers this week.

Sterling recovered from an early slide against the dollar to trade slightly higher at around $1.2982.

Across the Atlantic, stocks on Wall Street traded higher as investor optimism was lifted by the latest set of corporate earnings reports.

Stocks on the move

Swedish engineering company Atlas Copco saw its shares gain 9.4% following a strong earnings forecast, sending the firm to the top of the Stoxx 600.

Norwegian recycling technology firm Tomra Systems saw its shares jump 8% on the back of strong third-quarter results, while Germany's Wirecard climbed 6% after commissioning an independent audit following a recent Financial Times report alleging questionable accounting practices.

Sweden's Fabege fell 8.5% after weak third-quarter results, while shares of Micro Focus slid 7% after Open Text confirmed it was not considering an acquisition of the British software company.

Smith & Nephew shares tumbled 9% to a three-month low, sending the company to the bottom of the European blue chip index after the artificial joint manufacturer announced the departure of CEO Namal Nawana.