May 2, 2019, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
Yesterday’s Fed decision and press conference from Chair Jerome Powell pushed back against increasing speculation the bank’s next rate move could be a cut. The one thing that remains clear is that U.S. monetary policy makers are happy to do nothing at all right now, as they view the current stance as “appropriate.” There’s another likely monetary non-event due at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time when the Bank of England announces its latest decision. That will be accompanied by new inflation predictions, followed by a press conference with Governor Mark Carney. (There will be excitement, however, if there’s any evidence of a brewing hawkish tilt in the minutes.) Investors are more likely to concentrate on tomorrow’s payrolls report, and amuse themselves with corporate earnings in the meantime.
Those corporate earnings are certainly providing plenty to chew over. Lloyds Banking Group Plc saw its shares slip in London trading after the bank announced results that were below forecasts as it continues to deal with the fallout from mis-selling insurance to customers. BNP Paribas SA beat estimates, lifted by a jump in fixed-income trading. Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s profit came in higher than even the most optimistic of analyst forecasts as the company’s bet on natural gas paid off. DowDuPont Inc., Bombardier Inc., Under Armour Inc., and this century’s best-performing stock Monster Beverage Corp. are all due to report later.
Attorney General William Barr said he will not appear at a scheduled hearing of the House Judiciary Committee today as his conflict with Democrats escalated. Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York threatened to subpoena Barr to force him to attend, while expressing hope that he shows up. Yesterday’s session in front of the Senate Judiciary committee was a mixture of Barr parrying questions and Democrats campaigning for 2020.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Ex-Japan Index added 0.3 percent overnight, as Tokyo markets remain closed and China was on holiday. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.2 percent lower at 5:50 a.m. as some signs of improvement in the region’s manufacturing sector were not enough to lift equities. S&P 500 futures pointed to a gain at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.527 percent and gold was lower.
At 8:30 a.m., investors will get one last look at the health of the jobs market ahead of tomorrow’s payrolls number when weekly jobless claims data is published. March factory orders and durable goods orders are released at 10:00 a.m. U.S. sanctions on all purchases of Iranian oil kick in today. Property developer and senior adviser at the White House Jared Kushner speaks later at a Washington Institute dinner.