December 7, 2017 by Lorcan Roche Kelly
House and Senate Republicans seek tax compromise, May faces Brexit deadline, and world leaders react to Trump’s Jerusalem decision. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.
House and Senate Republicans continue their work on a compromise tax-overhaul plan which they aim to have on President Donald Trump’s desk by the end of the year. Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch said “there is a drive” to fix the corporate tax rate at 22 percent, rather than 20 percent, even though his personal preference is for the lower rate. Hatch is one of the eight senators on the conference committee. Also in Washington, efforts to avoid a shutdown continue, with Trump due to meet leaders from both sides of the aisle later today in an effort to negotiate a long-term budget deal.
Time is running out for British Prime Minister Theresa May to achieve a compromise with the European Union that she can sell to her own party and Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party. One EU official said the cutoff is Dec. 11 at the latest for progress that would take divorce talks to the second round before March of next year. With her own cabinet unable to agree on what they want, and Brexit Secretary David Davis yesterday admitting that his department hasn’t done a sector-by-sector analysis of the effects of leaving the EU, the prime minister is in a very difficult position. Elsewhere in Europe, Germany’s Social Democrats are holding a party convention today to test support for entering a new coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel, with many rank-and-file members of the party remaining unconvinced of the merits of the idea.
World leaders warned that Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate the U.S. embassy there risks igniting new violence and could bury any hopes for resolving the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This morning the leader of Hamas called for a third uprising against Israel saying “Jerusalem is being kidnapped and ripped from us.” The recognition of Jerusalem is a major shift in a long-held U.S. policy on the city, with enduring consequences for regional politics likely.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.4 percent, while Japan’s Topix index closed 1.2 percent higher as stocks in the region recovered from the recent selloff. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.3 percent higher at 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time with material and energy shares the laggards in the region. S&P 500 futures rose 0.2 percent, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.346 percent and gold slipped.
The final reading of third-quarter GDP for the euro area showed an unrevised 0.6 percent expansion in the period, with consumption and investment the main growth drivers. At 8:30 a.m. weekly jobless claims data is published, giving a last look at the health of U.S. employment ahead of tomorrow’s payrolls numbers. At 3:00 p.m. consumer credit growth for October is released.