By Laura Curtis
Next trade talks are penciled in, Boris Johnson’s very-bad week continues, and Apple Inc. is adding to all that cash. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.
Talk about talks
“Early October.” That’s when the next face-to-face talks between U.S. and Chinese officials will take place in Washington, according to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. The loose plans were made in a phone call with Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The latter’s office issued a cautious statement that ministerial-level talks would happen “in the coming weeks.” All told it’s enough to boost market sentiment today given swirling fears over recession. Don’t get giddy: President Donald Trump’s administration is still set to ratchet up levies on Oct. 1, and China’s demand to put tariff hikes on hold during negotiations was a big part of what delayed the meetings planned for this month.
A bill to stop a no-deal Brexit is poised to become law, blocking Boris Johnson’s promise to deliver a do-or-die exit from the European Union by Halloween. The U.K. prime minister’s bad first week continued when support from his party eroded further and the House of Lords agreed to complete passage of the anti-no-deal bill by Friday. Johnson tried to call a new election in a bet he could restore his ruling majority – but lost that vote as well. If Johnson can’t muster the necessary two-thirds support for an election he’ll be forced to request a further delay. What can he do? He’s set for a speech Thursday designed to appeal directly to voters, employing the campaign skills that helped sell Brexit to the public in the first place. In the latest development, Johnson’s brother Jo resigned as an MP and Minister.
Taking a bite
Apple Inc., one of the world’s most cash-rich companies, has become the latest in an increasing number of investment-grade corporations to take advantage of the ultra-cheap money that’s up for grabs in the bond market. The tech giant borrowed $7 billion, with the 30-year bond yielding around 2.99%. While concerns are growing in the market that government bonds might constitute a bubble, there is little to suggest central banks are going to much to ruin the debt party any time soon.
There’s nothing like a blip of good news on the trade front to buoy stocks. Overnight the MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 1.09%, led by a 1.84% boost for Japan’s Topix index. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.6% higher as solid car sales data from Germany and U.S. boosted automakers. S&P 500 futures pointed to a strong start to the session, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 1.515% at 6:07 a.m. Eastern Time and gold was 0.7% lower.
Purchasing manager surveys are due at 9:45 a.m. while factory orders and durable goods data are up at 10 a.m. It all comes after a report showed German factory figures fell in July, aggravating an industrial slump that has pushed Europe’s largest economy to the brink of recession. U.S. ADP private employment change acts as a curtain-raiser of sorts for Friday’s nonfarm payrolls number. Also Friday, remarks from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will get parsed for clues on monetary easing.