Apr 24, 2019, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
Negotiators led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will travel to Beijing next week as both sides seek to have a trade agreement signed in the coming weeks. Despite market confidence that a deal will be done, economists continue to count the damage that has already been inflicted on global trade by the stand-off. Kevin Hassett, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, using a colorful analogy, likened President Donald Trump’s attempts to get better trading terms for the U.S. to a battle against scurvy on an 18th century ship.
It’s a huge day for tech earnings with Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp. both due to announce results later. Analysts will be keen to see what Tesla Inc.’s production numbers look like when the automaker reports. Economic bellwether Caterpillar Inc. is also due to update investors. Earlier today Credit Suisse Group AG got European bank reporting season off to a positive start when it announced a better-than-expected profit.
Division of powers
The relationship between the Trump White House and Congress continues to be fraught, with the latest battle lines being drawn over whether administration officials should attend Congressional inquiries. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler suggested at a meeting earlier this month that it might be necessary to fine, or even jail, officials who ignore or deny subpoenas. President Trump has been at his most bombastic on Twitter in the wake of the Mueller report, as he continues his attacks on Democrats and the media.
The new record high in the S&P 500 Index has not led to global euphoria in stocks. Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.3 percent while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.7 percent lower. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was little changed at 5:50 a.m. Eastern time as Credit Suisse results buoyed lenders in the region. S&P 500 futures pointed to a slightly lower open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.538 percent and gold was higher.
The Bank of Canada is likely to cement expectations for a prolonged pause in interest rates when it announces its latest monetary policy decision at 10:00 a.m. The oil market will watch today’s inventory report due at 10:30 a.m. as crude gives up some of its Iran-waiver gains. The U.S. Treasury sells two- and five-year notes later.