With the clock ticking down to 29 March, the day under the Article 50 trigger that Britain is due to leave the European Union, Tuesday brings probably the last chance for MPs to vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
After previous parliamentary rejections, the UK prime minister has still been unable to secure any concessions from the EU to enable any change to her plan, with the main sticking point over the Irish border backstop.
Therefore, the government is again bracing for another big defeat which could either mean the UK leaves the EU on 29 March with no deal in place, or the departure date gets delayed.
There would be another parliamentary vote to approve a ‘No-deal Brexit’ on Wednesday if May’s plan is rejected again, and if that also fails a further vote on Thursday to decide whether to request a delay to the Brexit data from the European Union.
Three days, three crucial votes at the end of which we could finally know what will happen on 29 March.
However, if Tuesday’s vote is closer than expected, Theresa May’s plan could still get another chance if the prime minister can agree a delay to that data and make a final plea for concessions at the EU summit on 22 March.
On the other hand, if her plan is rejected by as many MPs as the first record defeat, the prime minister’s position might become untenable leading to her resignation and throwing the Brexit bomb back up in the air.
UK growth data to keep slowing
Aside from the crucial Brexit vote, January’s UK GDP growth numbers will also be a focus on Tuesday, a day ahead of the Chancellor’s Spring Statement which will bring updated official forecasts for the UK economy.
UK GDP fell by a relatively large 0.3% month-on-month in December as output in services, industry and construction all fell on the month, the first time that had been seen since September 2012, as Brexit uncertainties started to take a toll.
Economists at RBC Capital think the weak finish to last year coupled with recent dull survey data suggests an even slower start to this year, which could see the three month GDP growth rate drop to 0.1%.
Weather holding back Domino’s Pizza Group PLC
On the corporate front, investors should have plenty to chew over when Domino’s Pizza Group PLC (LON:DOM) delivers full-year results, with the FTSE 250-listed firm having issued a profit warning in January due to “growing pains” in some of its international markets.
Things seemed better in its core UK business, where like-for-like sales climbed 4.5% in the final quarter.
But investors will keep an eye on the bottom line, as City broker Liberum Capital thinks most of that growth was driven by price cuts.
Investors already know that Domino’s full-year underlying pre-tax profits will be at the lower end of the consensus range of £93.9mln-£98.2mln, so focus on Tuesday will instead be on the outlook.
Liberum’s analysts think that the “comparative is not easy”, with like-for-likes climbing 7.1% in the opening two months of 2018.
Significant announcements expected on Tuesday:
Finals: Domino’s Pizza Group PLC (LON:DOM), G4S PLC (LON:GFS), Cairn Energy PLC (LON:CNE), Computacenter PLC (LON:CCC), Quilter PLC (LON:QLT), Goals Soccer Centres PLC (LON:GOAL), 888 Holdings PLC (LON:888), John Menzies PLC (LON:MNZS), Pendragon PLC (LON:PDG), Forterra PLC (LON:FORT), Forbidden Technologies plc (LON:FBT), French Connection Group PLC (LON:FCCN), Gresham Technologies plc (LON:GHT), Gamma Communications PLC (LON:GAMA), H&T GROUP PLC (LON:HAT), Midwich Group Plc (LON:MIDW), Pennant International Group PLC (LON:PEN), Surgical Innovations PLC (LON:SUN)
Economic data: UK GDP monthly estimate; US core inflation rate; US NIFB business optimism index