FTSE futures flat as investors shrug off PM confidence vote

LONDON (Reuters) – UK stock futures were flat to slightly lower on Thursday after Prime Minister Theresa May saw off a leadership challenge, with investors viewing the result as changing little in the country’s prolonged divorce from the European Union.

The FTSE futures index FFIc1 was down 0.02 percent at 0743 GMT, underperforming its euro-zone peers. The DAX futures were up 0.2 percent and France’s CAC 40 up 0.3 percent.

On Wednesday, May survived a confidence vote by the Conservative Party, but a mutiny by more than a third of her lawmakers indicated parliament was heading towards deadlock over Brexit.

“I think this feels a lot more like another step in the long process (towards Brexit). It wasn’t a game changer in itself from a global investor perspective,” said Lars Kreckel, global equity strategist at Legal & General Investment Management.

The more domestically focused midcap index .FTMC may come under pressure from the weaker pound when trading starts at 0800 GMT, but investors were focusing on the global geopolitical landscape.

“The market’s being driven more by what’s going on in the world in general and there may be a little overlay from the pound,” he said.

Asian equity markets rallied on Thursday on signs of easing Sino-U.S. trade tensions and expectations that China will step up efforts soon to support its cooling economy. The European Central Bank will also hold its closely-watched meeting later in the day.