Global Stocks Rise on Brexit Vote

SINGAPORE (AP) -- World shares were broadly higher on Friday as British lawmakers prepared to vote on a plan for leaving the European Union put forward by Prime Minister Theresa May.

Mainland Chinese markets led stocks higher in Asia, with the Shanghai Composite jumping 3.2 percent to 3,090.76 as the U.S. and China kicked off a fresh round of trade talks in Beijing.

Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.4 percent to 7,265.93. France's CAC 40 surged 0.7 percent to 5,335.35 and the DAX in Germany climbed 0.5 percent to 11,483.47.

Wall Street was poised for early gains. The future contract for the broad S&P 500 index rose 0.1 percent at 2,824.40. That for the Dow Jones Industrial Average also added 0.1 percent to 25,770.00.

British lawmakers will vote on a 585-page agreement for withdrawing from the EU later Friday. It is a trimmed version of the Brexit deal brokered between May and other European leaders. Although the agreement still sets out the terms of Britain's departure, it does not include a shorter declaration on future ties with the European Union.

May had to make the changes because of a ban on sending the original deal, which lawmakers have rejected twice, back for another vote without tweaks.

She has also agreed to quit if the agreement is approved. An approval by 11 p.m. U.K time (2300GMT, 7 p.m. EDT) would mean Britain has until May 22 to leave the bloc.

Conversely, the country has until April 12 to announce a new plan if the agreement is rejected. Or, it could leave without a deal, that could cause widespread disruption.

Investor sentiment also was lifted by U.S.-China trade talks that resumed in Beijing. They aim to put to rest a dispute between the world's two biggest economies over technology and other issues.

U.S. negotiators led by Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin attended a working dinner Thursday night with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, who is expected to travel to Washington next week.

The three of them posed for a photo at a government guesthouse before negotiations resumed on Friday but did not talk to reporters.

"Investors' eyes will be glued to news feeds looking for any more details --- rumored or true --- emerging from the talks. This could cause some abrupt intra-day volatility across the markets," Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA said in a market commentary.

News about the talks was read as largely positive by Asian markets. At a speech in Washington on Thursday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the U.S. administration was prepared to continue trade negotiations with China for weeks or even months. This was taken as a sign of commitment to reaching a deal.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1 percent to 29,051.36 and South Korea's Kospi gained 0.6 percent to 2,140.67.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.8 percent to 21,205.81. The country's retail sales fell slightly in February from a month earlier, preliminary data showed. But industrial production rose, and its unemployment rate for February beat market expectations.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.1 percent higher to 6,180.70. Shares rose in Taiwan and most of Southeast Asia.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 54 cents to $59.84 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 11 cents to settle at $59.30 per barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 47 cents to $67.57 per barrel. The contract shed 14 cents to $67.10 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 110.78 yen from 110.63 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1220 from $1.1221, and the British pound eased to $1.3019 from $1.3050.

(BE)