FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Global stock markets were mixed Thursday, bogged down by concerns over the outcome of next week's U.S. presidential election.
The British pound jumped after a court ruled that parliament must vote before the government can trigger a two-year countdown to Britain's exit from the European Union.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany's DAX rose 0.1 percent to 10,379.93 in early afternoon trading Europe time, while France's CAC 40 was up 0.62 percent at 4,442.25. Britain's FTSE 100 dipped 0.5 percent to 6,812.71, as the Bank of England left its key interest rate unchanged as expected and raised growth forecasts. In the U.S, futures for the broader S&P 500 and the Dow rose 0.2 percent ahead of the market open.
POUND UP: The battered British currency rose a strong 1.5 percent to $1.24 after a court ruled that Prime Minister Theresa May must hold a vote in parliament over leaving the EU. May had maintained that the government could give the EU notice it is leaving without such a vote, after voters chose the "leave" option in a referendum in June.
A vote in parliament was seen as making it less likely that the government would wind up with a "hard" exit involving loss of access to tariff-free business with the EU, the country's largest trading partner. The government can appeal the court decision.
ELECTION JITTERS: Hillary Clinton maintains a lead in polling in the U.S. presidential race but Donald Trump has narrowed the gap. Markets favor a Clinton victory as she is seen as maintaining the status quo. Trump's policies are less clear, and the uncertainty rocks markets.
QUOTABLE: "Just by looking at the muted market action in the days leading to next week's decision, seasoned traders recognized this as possibly the calm before the storm," said Nicholas Teo, trading strategist with KGI Securities in Singapore. "Should Trump win, convention calls for a sell down in USD and USD assets including American equities. This could naturally also drag down global equities."
Mizuho Bank in Singapore concurred that a "Trump presidency will rattle rather than dazzle."
FED RATE HIKE: As expected, the Federal Reserve left policy unchanged ahead of the Nov. 8 poll. But it kept the door open for a rate hike in its December meeting. The Fed is waiting for the coast to clear amid the tightening presidential race.
ASIAN SCORECARD: Australia's S&P ASX/200 fell 0.07 percent to 5,225.60 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 0.6 percent to 22,683.51. Shares also fell in Southeast Asia and Taiwan. The Shanghai Composite bucked the trend to rise 0.8 percent to 3,128.94, and South Korea's Kospi was up 0.3 percent at 1,983.80. Japan's market was closed for a holiday.
ENERGY: U.S. benchmark oil futures rebounded, rising 33 cents to $45.67 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, added 40 cents to $47.26 a barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 103.10 yen from 103.28 yen, while the euro dipped 0.25 percent to $1.1069.
Ng contributed from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.