Regular trading for US markets was closed on Monday in honour of Martin Luther King Jr. day, however stock futures fell during a shortened trading session as weak Chinese growth data weighed on investors. The International Monetary Fund said Monday that it expects lower global growth this year of 3.5%, down from 3.7% in 2018 and from the 3.7% it had forecast for 2019 back in October.

European markets meanwhile fell on news of the Chinese economy’s growth, with most major indexes closing lower. The Stoxx Europe 600 fell by 0.3% to 356.03, after finishing up 2.25% for the week on Friday. Italy’s FTSE MIB lost 0.6% to 19,582.35 and Germany’s DAX 30 fell 0.6% to 11,142.52 while the FTSE 100 Index remained mostly unchanged at 6,973.12.

Toyota – Panasonic joint venture

Toyota Motor Corp and Panasonic Corp are launching a joint venture next year to make electric vehicle batteries, leveraging the heft of one of the world’s largest automakers and battery makers to expand their EV push. The joint venture, which builds on an initial lithium-ion battery partnership struck between the two companies in late 2017, reflects the aim of the Japanese companies to become a bigger global player in the battery industry, which is vital for the development of affordable EVs.

The two companies will pool part of existing battery-related equipment and engineers to the joint venture. Panasonic will also transfer its manufacturing capabilities in Japan and China for its thin, rectangular-shaped prismatic batteries. Toyota will own 51 percent of the joint venture, and Panasonic the rest, the two companies said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

UK Opposition to propose Brexit Vote

The possibility of stopping Brexit has moved a step closer as the U.K.’s main opposition party is backing a plan that could open the door to a second European Union referendum. It will be the first time that Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, puts his name to a proposal in Parliament preparing a path for a new public vote. The Labour leader proposed a series of non-binding votes in Parliament on options for how the U.K. can avoid an economically damaging no-deal Brexit.

More than two years since the first vote on Brexit, the U.K. has yet to negotiate an exit accord that can win the backing of Parliament. Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal was rejected by lawmakers last week by a historic margin and she’s now trying to revise the agreement with the EU to win over opponents at home.