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Parliament on Tuesday passed an amendment to rule out a no-deal or hard Brexit, as well as an amendment to replace the Irish backstop proposal with an 'alternative arrangement'. Theresa May will now return to Brussels to try to obtain legally binding changes to the existing agreement. May acknowledged that renegotiating wouldn't be an easy task when she addressed Parliament following the votes. The European Union previously said that a renegotiation of the deal May secured was not an option. Asian markets mostly rose as traders awaited a Federal Reserve policy meeting and U.S.-China talks, though Japan's benchmark declined. All eyes are on a Federal Open Market Committee meeting ending Wednesday. Although the Fed is expected to leave its short-term interest rate unchanged, the nuances of a press conference by Chairman Jerome Powell will be closely watched. The S&P 500 fell for a second consecutive day as shares of some of the big technology companies due to report earnings this week retreated, further endangering a January rally. Social-media firms including Twitter and Facebook , as well as several chip makers, pulled the broad index lower, as investors increasingly worried about the effects of China's slowing growth and continuing trade tensions ahead of earnings reports from Microsoft and other technology companies this week. Watch For: Monetary & Financial Statistics; Money and Credit; Peers examine post Brexit treaty plans; U.S. ADP National Employment Report; U.S. interest rate decision
Theresa May ran into fresh trouble in Brussels on Thursday, with her efforts to persuade her European Union counterparts to sweeten the Brexit deal effectively running aground. Some EU leaders said Mrs. May had failed to set out clearly what assurances she wanted. Others said she was effectively asking for them to re-open the Brexit agreement, something they have repeatedly ruled out doing. In the end, the other leaders offered some encouraging words but appeared to rule out offering any kind of legal assurances to the U.K. to mitigate the parts of the deal most unpopular with British lawmakers. China's business activity mostly slowed in November, as industrial production and retail sales showed renewed weakness, while investment improved slightly. Value-added industrial output in China rose 5.4% in November from a year earlier, slowing from a 5.9% on-year increase in October. November's figure missed economists' median forecast for 5.9% growth.
US stocks advanced on Wednesday, though well below their session highs, after a series of developments boosted hopes about US-China trade relations and the British prime minister defeated a challenge to her leadership. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.6%, while the S&P 500 index advanced 0.5%. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 1%. US President Donald Trump, said trade talks were under way with China. He also said that he would intervene in a case against a top executive at Huawei Technologies if it would help secure a trade deal. In Asia, shares mostly gained on Thursday in morning session, building on the momentum seen on Wall Street overnight. Watch For: ECB interest rate announcement, Draghi speech; RICS housing market data.