NEW YORK (Reuters) – The pound pared losses against the dollar on Thursday in the wake of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s call for a Dec. 12 election to break the country’s deadlock over its exit from the European Union, while global stock markets edged up.

Johnson said in a letter to opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn he would give Parliament more time to approve his Brexit deal but that lawmakers must back a December election.

Sterling was last trading at $1.2857, down 0.46% on the day, well off its lows of the session.

EU member states on Wednesday delayed a decision on whether to grant Britain a three-month Brexit extension.

Stocks were flat to higher, with upbeat earnings from Microsoft here and Mercedes maker Daimler here offsetting disappointing results from Twitter and other companies.

“Right now we’re seeing disparity in moves of the indexes. And that’s due primarily to the flow of earnings announcements as they surprise to the upside and disappoint to the downside,” said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.

“If consensus is building that a trough is occurring” in quarterly earnings changes, though, that could end up being a positive for the stock market, he said.

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 24, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The latest estimate for third-quarter earnings for companies on the benchmark U.S. S&P 500 index improved slightly. Earnings are expected to have declined 2.3% year-over-year in the quarter versus an estimated decline of 2.9% on Wednesday, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Third-quarter earnings reports took center stage on Wall Street, with investors trying to gauge the fallout from a prolonged U.S.-China trade war, which has already shown up in the domestic economy.

Tesla here shares rallied, a day after the company reported an unexpected third-quarter profit.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 39.66 points, or 0.15%, to 26,794.29, the S&P 500 gained 3.9 points, or 0.13%, to 3,008.42 and the Nasdaq Composite added 57.37 points, or 0.71%, to 8,177.16.

The S&P 500 briefly moved lower after comments from U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who accused China of curtailing “rights and liberties” in Hong Kong but also insisted that the United States does not seek confrontation or to “de-couple” from its main economic rival.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.30%. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.59%.

German companies, including Daimler, helped to boost Europe’s indexes.

FILE PHOTO: A financial trader works at their desk at CMC Markets in the City of London, Britain, April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

The euro was down 0.19% to $1.1108.

In commodities markets, U.S. crude rose 26 cents to settle at $56.23 a barrel, while Brent rose 50 cents to settle at $61.67.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 2/32 in price to yield 1.766%, from 1.759% late on Wednesday.

Additional reporting by Marc Jones in London and Sujata Rao; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Dan Grebler and Cynthia Osterman

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