China extends an olive branch, Iran tensions remain very high, and Hong Kong violence escalates. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.
Chinese state media are saying that face-to-face trade talks with the U.S. may happen soon as the country engaged in a number of goodwill gestures over the weekend. The moves are focused on American farm goods, a topic which President Donald Trump has been very vocal about. Authorities in Beijing also announced they were further opening the country’s financial sector to foreign investors.
Oil added to its Friday gains to trade as much as 2% higher this morning as tensions in the Persian Gulf remain elevated after Iran seized a British tanker. British Prime Minister Theresa May will lead a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee this morning to address the situation, in one of her last moves as Conservative Party leader. Defense Minister Tobias Ellwood said the U.K. was seeking to “de-escalate this.” Crude was also getting a boost from further Libyan supply disruptions as the country’s largest oil field was shut down by an unidentified group.
Beijing issued its strongest warning yet to protesters in Hong Kong as a night of clashes led to police using tear gas to disperse crowds. Chinese authorities reportedly ruled out using military force to quell the protests, as authorities remain uncertain as to what the root cause of the violence is after Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the extradition bill that originally triggered the backlash was dead. Luxury brands, meanwhile, say they are being impacted by the unrest as travelers stay away.
Overnight the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.5% while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.5% lower. China’s so-called Star market, the country’s Nasdaq challenger, debuted with 25 companies listed to huge fanfare and massive first-day gains. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was unchanged at 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time as investors awaited the result of the Conservative Party leadership contest and this week’s European Central Bank meeting. S&P futures pointed to a small gain at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.041% and gold was flat.
It is a slow start to the week on the eco-data front, with only the Chicago Fed national activity index at 8:30 a.m. on the slate for today. There are also no central bank speakers as both the Federal Reserve and ECB enter their pre-meeting quiet period ahead of decisions this week and next. Earnings season trundles on, with Halliburton Co. and Whirlpool Corp. among the companies reporting today.