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Hong Kong bills intensify Sino-US tensions

The tensions between the US and China intensified overnight after the US House of Representatives approved three bills supportive of Hong Kong protestors, a moved that riled China sufficiently to threaten countermeasures if the bills are signed into law later this week by the US President. The escalation comes only a day after President Trump postponed the next set of tariff hikes on Chinese imports and pushes the prospect of a quick resolution to trade talks further into the distance.

The tensions over Hong Kong have already eroded early gains in Asian markets and will dent some of the optimism building from a first set of positive Wall Street earnings. Results from tech companies have yet to come and the expectations here are that the trade war has significantly dented growth.

Marathon Brexit talks yield no results yet

The EU and Britain continue to toil on a last minute Brexit deal which is still lacking a workable solution for the Irish border. Although some comments from the negotiators indicated that there might be a resolution within hours it may be slightly too optimistic to interpret that as a Brexit resolution as the proposal still has to get past MPs in a vote this weekend. The FTSE is struggling to remain in positive territory as declines in the home building sector and a drop in Hargreaves Lansdown shares balance out rises in pharma and a rally by publishing firm RELX.

The pound, though a touch weaker this morning remains much stronger than it has been for months, trading at $1.2726 against the dollar.

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