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Sterling slips at start of crucial Brexit week; global stocks edge higher

➤ Sterling slips ahead of Brexit votes this week.

➤ U.S. stocks set for muted open; global shares rise.

➤ Boeing plunges in premarket trading after latest crash.

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Wall Street looks set for a muted open as shares in Boeing Co. plummet in early trading, while sterling remains under pressure ahead of crucial votes that could decide whether the U.K. leaves the European Union on March 29.

Sterling remains in focus as U.K. lawmakers are this week set to decide whether Britain should exit the EU without a deal or whether Brexit should be delayed. Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to hold a vote in parliament by tomorrow on her withdrawal deal, but she has so far failed to secure changes to the pact that would address concerns regarding the controversial Irish border backstop.

If May's deal is not approved, lawmakers will get to vote on leaving the EU without a deal. If a no-deal Brexit is also rejected, lawmakers will then get to decide whether to delay the country's departure.

The pound dropped 0.22% against the dollar to below $1.30 at 6:30 a.m. ET, while it fell 0.25% against the euro. Both the Japanese yen and the euro traded largely flat against the dollar.

In equities, futures pointed to a muted open on Wall Street this morning following last Friday's close, which saw the S&P 500 index drop 0.21% and the Nasdaq Composite lose 0.18% on the back of weaker-than-expected U.S. payroll numbers for February.

Futures for the S&P 500 inched up 0.12%, while those for the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.65%. Shares in Boeing plunged about 9% in pre-market trading amid mounting concerns over its 737 MAX 8 aircraft after a plane operated by an Ethiopian airline crashed yesterday.

Elsewhere, Asian equities largely traded higher, with the Shanghai SE Composite index climbing 1.92% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng adding 0.97%. The People's Bank of China pledged to maintain a "prudent" monetary policy stance that would reflect "countercyclical adjustments," as well as to continue introducing reforms to lower interest rates.

European stocks tracked gains in Asia, with the FTSE 100 up 0.99%, Germany's DAX advancing 0.24% and France's CAC 40 rising 0.21%. Banks led gains in the wider Stoxx Europe 600 index amid reports that German lenders Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG have begun tentative merger talks.

Yields on 10-year Treasurys added 1 basis point to 2.645% ahead of U.S. retail sales data. Brent crude oil rose 0.94% to $66.36 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange, while gold fell 0.26% to $1,295.90 per ounce.

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The day ahead:

8:30 a.m. ET — U.S. retail sales (Econoday consensus: 0%, month over month)

8:30 a.m. ET — U.S. business inventories (Econoday consensus: 0.6%, month over month)

11 a.m. ET — U.S. consumer inflation expectations

7:00 p. m. ET — U.S. Federal Reserve's Jerome Powell speaks