European markets opened higher this morning despite sharp falls on Wall Street on Friday. Markets in Asia proved to be slightly more resilient, no doubt taking some optimism from comments from Chinese vice premier Liu He that “substantial progress” was being made with the US with respect to a “phase one” trade deal.

Having seen a number of false starts already this year with respect to meaningful votes, it probably shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise that all we got was another false start, when the House of Commons sat on Saturday for the first time in forty years.

Expectations around the weekend vote were already elevated so the fact that the headlines were dominated around yet another amendment shouldn’t really have been that unexpected, nonetheless this was yet another twist in this tortuous saga, which saw the government delay their meaningful vote to either today or tomorrow.

Consequently the pound has slipped back from its end of week highs, though the downside has been limited by expectations that the deal will still get passed this week, with all eyes then on the European Union and how long any possible extension is likely to be.

Despite the weekend false start European markets have also opened higher with investors taking the view that the passing of the deal has been merely been delayed, with once again banks, house builders and other UK focussed stocks leading the early gainers.

On the companies front Just Eat latest Q3 update showed that group revenues rose 25% in the quarter to £248m, with group orders up 16%. The also company reported strong performance in Italy and Switzerland, however the South American business of Brazil and Mexico has continued to act as a drag, with losses set to come in between £80m and £100m, and this appears to be dragging the shares lower in early trading.

Company guidance was kept unchanged with profits expected to come in between £185m and £205m excluding Mexico and Brazil. With respect to the merger with management announced that further details would be published by the end of October, with the completion of the  transaction set to be completed by year end.

AstraZeneca announced that Farxiga, its latest drug to combat heart failure risk in patients with type 2 diabetes has been approved by the US Food and Drug administration.

Medical devices supplier Smith and Nephew shares have slipped sharply after announcing the departure of CEO Namal Nawana after only 18 months in the job. Having joined in May 2018 Nawana has helped push the share price to record highs earlier this year, by overhauling the operating model separating the business by specialities as opposed to region, in an attempt to sharpen focus on the product, as opposed to the geography.  

This appears to have worked, along with some strategic acquisitions, which helped the company post 4% revenue growth in its most recent set of numbers. Inevitably there will be speculation as to why we’ve seen yet another change at Smith and Nephew, however replacement Roland Diggerman has also been with the business since March 20018 so will already have a decent insight into the way the business is going. 

Prudential shares have also come under pressure on the open as it completes its demerger from M&G resulting in two separate listed companies. With Prudential now focussing on its US and Asia business, some of the early weakness may well be as a result of concerns about the unrest in Hong Kong acting as a drag on that key geography, while the absence of the UK business has probably resulted in some weakness as well.  

US markets look set for a rebound from their Friday sell off as investors look to another big week for earnings.

Boeing shares are likely to be in focus after Friday’s sharp fall on reports that they misled regulators about the problems of the 737 MAX

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