It’s decision day at the Fed, the U.K. sees a “notable slowdown,” and oil holds over $48. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.
At 2 p.m. Eastern Time today, the Federal Open Markets Committee will announce its latest monetary policy decision. With no change in interest rates expected by economists surveyed by Bloomberg, and no press conference scheduled for after the release, investors will closely read the statement for updated language on inflation and any hints to plans for balance-sheet reduction.
The Office for National Statistics said there was a “notable slowdown” in the first half of the year for the British economy when it published growth figures this morning that showed an expansion of 0.3 percent in the second quarter. The sole positive contributor to the economy in the period was services which grew 0.5 percent, with production and construction proving a drag. Within services, retail continued to be one of the strongest performers.
A barrel of West Texas Intermediate for September delivery was trading at $48.27 at 5:24 a.m, with Brent holding above the $50 mark, as industry data showed U.S. stockpiles plunged. Oil majors are learning to live with $50 crude as analysts predict the industry’s big players will see a surge in second-quarter profits. The outlook is still unclear, with one consultant saying Brent could slump to $40 or below by early next year without further OEPC cuts.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed, while Japan’s gained 0.2 percent as positive earnings lifted sentiment. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.7 percent higher at 5:44 a.m. as earnings season gathered pace ahead of tomorrow’s “day from hell” as companies worth more than $3 trillion are set to report results. U.S. market futures were slightly higher as markets awaited the fed decision.
The health-care debate in the Senate saw Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proposal rejected in a vote late last night. That marked the first of a slew of votes on different health bills as GOP leaders try to pass something that would repeal Obamacare, or at a minimum, scrap some of the law’s most unpopular provisions. Ex-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said that some legislation is likely to be passed as the cost of inaction would be too high.