The pound edged up after Theresa May was given a six-month Brexit delay by European leaders but she is still struggling to reach an agreement on her deal at home

New York (AFP) - The pound edged lower on Thursday after Britain and its EU partners again agreed to extend Brexit, avoiding a dreaded no-deal British departure even as a fog persists surrounding a resolution.

The British currency gained at times during the session but was negative against both the dollar and euro at 2100 GMT.

Global stocks finished mixed.

European leaders and British Prime Minister Theresa May opted to delay Brexit for up to six months in a deal that leaves the door open for Brexit any time before then.

Traders breathed a sigh of relief but observers noted the reprieve was only brief with the agreement merely delaying tough decisions.

“There are no winners on a hard Brexit and the EU is well known for kicking the can (down the road) whenever this is an option,” said Richard Falkenhall, forex strategist at Swedish banking group SEB.

BK Asset Management’s Boris Schlossberg described the extension as a “much-needed respite,” but added that “the market reaction was less than stellar as Brexit fatigue and lack of clear outcomes have clearly taken their toll on traders.”

“A second delay really has not surprised the markets,” ETX Capital analyst Michael Baker told AFP.

He added: “We are no closer to exiting the European Union – or the panic-inducing no-deal scenario.”

London’s FTSE 100 edged lower, while Paris and Frankfurt both advanced.

Wall Street stocks finished mostly lower as markets anticipated bank results Friday that will kick off first-quarter earnings season.

Investors are looking ahead to Friday’s reports from JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, which unofficially launch the reporting season that accelerates later this month.

Analysts have dropped their forecasts for the results, setting a low bar that analysts say could be easy to clear.

“The market has been pretty punishing in terms of earnings expectations,” said Nate Thooft, senior portfolio manager of Manulife Asset Management.

“There’s a reasonable chance we’ll see a decent amount of beats relative to the lower consensus levels.”

Earlier, Asian equities mostly fell, with few catalysts to drive buying and investors still on edge over trade frictions between the United States and Europe.

- Key figures around 2100 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.1 percent at 26,143.05 (close)

New York - S&P 500: FLAT at 2,888.32 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.2 percent at 7,947.36 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent 7,417.95 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.3 percent at 11,935.20 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.7 percent at 5,485.72 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.3 percent at 3,435.34 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 21,711.38 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.9 percent at 29,839.45 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.6 percent at 3,189.96 (close)

Oil - Brent Crude: DOWN 90 cents at $70.83 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN $1.03 at $63.58 per barrel

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3058 from $1.3091 at 2100 GMT on Wednesday

Euro/pound: UP at 86.20 pence from 86.12 pence

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1253 from $1.1274

Dollar/yen: UP at 111.66 yen from 111.01 yen

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