By Riva Gold

Stocks were on track to snap their longest losing streak in years on Thursday after a U.K. court ruled the government couldn't unilaterally trigger Brexit.

The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.4% late morning after eight consecutive sessions of losses, while the pound jumped 0.8% to a four-week high against the dollar at $1.2449.

The High Court ruled on Thursday that the British government would need parliament to vote on Brexit before it could officially start the separation process from the European Union.

"I don't think it stops the implication of Article 50, but it possibly delays it," said William Hamlyn, investment analyst at Manulife Asset Management. "It's hard to see the government's desire for Brexit change on the back of this," he said.

Futures pointed to a small opening gain for the S&P 500, following its most back-to-back declines in nearly five years.

Tightening polls in the U.S. presidential election have weighed on sentiment this week, while a recent downturn in the oil price depressed shares of energy companies, keeping major bourses narrowly in the red.

In an event-packed week, investors have also continued to keep an eye on the course of monetary policy. The Bank of England is due to release an interest rate decision and quarterly inflation report later Thursday. The U.K. central bank cut its benchmark rate to a new low of 0.25% in August and signaled rates could go even lower if growth slowed as sharply as feared.

Since then, however, economic datahas improved, and the majority of investors expect no change to interest rates at the conclusion of the November meeting.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Reserve left rates unchanged as widely expected in an 8-2 vote on Wednesday but signaled it could act at its meeting in December.

The Fed's policy committee "judges that the case for an increase in the federal-funds rate has continued to strengthen but decided, for the time being, to wait for some further evidence of continued progress toward its objectives," it said.

Analysts said the Fed's message did little to shift expectations of a December rate rise.

The broader WSJ Dollar Index inched down 0.2% on Thursday after falling for four sessions, while the dollar fell 0.5% against the yen to Yen102.9260.

In commodities, Brent crude oil rose 0.9% to $47.26 a barrel after settling at its lowest price since September, while gold snapped a winning streak to fall 1.2%.Earlier, Asian shares were mixed, with Japanese markets closed for a holiday. The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.8%, while the Hang Seng fell 0.6% and Australian shares shed 0.1%.

In company news, Credit Suisse shares fell over 5% on Thursday after posting third-quarter results, despite a beat on expected profits. Paris-based lender Société Générale, meanwhile, gained over 6% after results at its investment banking business offset a decline in retail banking. The Stoxx Europe 600 banks sector rose 0.9%, leading gains in Europe.

In the U.S., shares of Facebook slid over 6% in premarket trading after the social media company said its advertising growth would come down.

Whole Foods shares rose over 2% after the high-end grocer reported quarterly profits and said it was eliminating its dual-CEO leadership structure.

Kate Davidson

contributed to this article.

Write to Riva Gold at

(END) DowJones Newswires

November 03, 2016 07:06 ET (11:06 GMT)

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