By Lorcan Roche Kelly
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s delay in handing over the impeachment case to the Senate risks diluting the Democrat case that the issue is a matter of urgent national interest. Lawyers close to President Donald Trump explored whether the delay could mean that the president hasn’t been impeached at all, while Democrats said the issue would be resolved in early January when both chambers return to Washington. Away from the impeachment headlines, there was some work done on Capitol Hill ahead of the break, with the House passing the new Canada-U.S.-Mexico trade accord. The Senate also passed two spending bills that take the risks of a government shutdown off the table.
The next governor of the Bank of England will be Andrew Bailey who is currently head of the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority. He will take the position on March 16, with Mark Carney remaining as head of the bank until then. This means Carney will lead the bank through the U.K.’s exit from the European Union which will occur on Jan 31. That exit date is almost guaranteed now that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has such a large majority in the House of Commons. There was some good economic news for Johnson this morning when U.K. third-quarter growth was revised higher.
It may be a busy U.S. session in markets later today when options and futures on stocks and indexes all expire at the same time, an event that usually drives trading volumes higher. Speaking of market mechanics, there was some relief for the repo market yesterday when the New York Federal Reserve’s $35 billion two-week liquidity operation covering the year-end period was undersubscribed. While there remains a premium for Dec 31. funding in markets, the Fed will run more operations ahead of the new year to meet needs.
While there are some fireworks expected later in the session, global equities are generally fairly quiet so far. Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped less than 0.1% while Japan’s Topix index closed down 0.2%. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.3% higher at 5:45 a.m. Eastern Time with defensive stocks among the best performing. S&P 500 futures pointed to a small rise at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 1.945% and gold eased.
The third reading of U.S. third-quarter GDP is published at 8:30 a.m., with Canadian retail sales of October also due at that time. The PCE report at 10:00 a.m. is expected to show there was a pick up in consumer spending in November, while the core PCE deflator may have slowed to 1.5%. The University of Michigan sentiment survey is also published at 10:00 a.m. Blackberry Ltd. is among the companies reporting earnings.