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US futures muted as global stocks rally; sterling in focus before Brexit vote


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US futures muted as global stocks rally; sterling in focus before Brexit vote

➤ Pound pares gains as U.K.'s May secures changes to Brexit deal.

➤ Global stocks rise after tech-led rally on Wall Street.

➤ U.S. Treasury yields rise ahead of inflation data.

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Wall Street is set to see small gains at the open this morning following a tech-led rally overnight, while the dollar pared losses against the pound as investors await the outcome of a crucial vote in the U.K. parliament on the country's Brexit deal with the European Union.

IT companies helped boost Wall Street's gains overnight, with the S&P 500 climbing 1.47% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rising 2.02%. Apple Inc. gained 3.46% as Bank of America upgraded the tech giant to buy from neutral, while Nvidia Corp.'s shares surged nearly 7% after the company agreed to buy Mellanox Technologies Ltd. for about $6.9 billion.

Boeing Co., meanwhile, lost 5.33% amid growing concerns about the future of its single-aisle 737 MAX jet following a plane crash in Ethiopia. Several countries, including Singapore, Australia, China and Indonesia, have already suspended operations of the said model.

Futures for the S&P 500 edged 0.05% higher at 6:30 a.m. ET, while those for the Nasdaq 100 rose 0.16% amid renewed optimism over a U.S.-China trade deal. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He reportedly discussed key issues regarding the text of a potential trade pact in a phone call with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Asian shares tracked Wall Street's rally, with the Shanghai SE Composite index and Hong Kong's Hang Seng up more than 1% each. MSCI's index of Asia-Pacific stocks excluding Japan gained 1.11%, while the Nikkei 225 closed 1.79% higher.

European equities also largely traded higher, with the Stoxx 600 index rising 0.13%. Germany's DAX rose 0.06% and France's CAC 40 added 0.08%.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index edged 0.11% higher as the pound pared gains against the dollar after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed on "legally binding" changes to their withdrawal agreement in a bid to address concerns regarding the controversial Irish backstop. Investors will now focus on whether the assurances are enough to get the deal through the U.K. parliament in a vote scheduled later at 7 p.m. London time.

The Democratic Unionist Party, which props up the British government, said it will scrutinize the new proposals ahead of the vote, while the Labour opposition said the changes fell short of what May had promised to lawmakers.

Sterling trimmed earlier gains against the dollar to trade nearly unchanged at $1.315, while it was down 0.13% versus the euro. The pound is seen rising to as much as $1.35 if U.K. lawmakers approve the divorce pact, ING analysts said, though adding that the "more likely" outcome would be May losing today's vote, setting the stage for another vote on a no-deal Brexit tomorrow.

Elsewhere, the euro rose 0.22% against the dollar, while the Japanese yen fell 0.11%. U.S. bonds fell as yields on 10-year Treasurys added 2 basis points to 2.66% ahead of the consumer price index for February.

In commodities, Brent crude oil advanced 1.05% to $67.28 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange. The International Energy Agency said world oil demand is forecast to slow through 2024 to 1.2 million barrels per year on average on the back of China's slowing economy and efforts to curb pollution.

Gold rose 0.41% to $1,296.40 per ounce.

More from S&P Global Market Intelligence:

US offshore wind capacity improves to nearly 14 GW through 2027

Chinese semiconductor M&A under pressure in 2019, analysts say

UK watchdog prepares 'war room' over Brexit weekend in the event of no deal

After 2018 gains, top pharma companies issue cautious outlook for 2019

Huawei lawsuit against US government is largely strategic, legal experts say

The day ahead:

8:30 a.m. ET — U.S. consumer price index (Econoday consensus: 0.2%, month over month, 1.6% year over year)

8:45 a.m. ET — U.S. Fed's Lael Brainard speaks

8:55 a.m. ET — U.S. Redbook

3 p.m. ET — U.K. House of Commons expected to vote on Brexit deal

7:50 p.m. ET — Japan machine orders (Econoday consensus: -1.9% month over month)

7:50 p.m. ET — Japan producer price index (Econoday consensus: 0.2% month over month, 0.8% year over year)

10 p.m. ET — NIESR monthly GDP tracker