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Good morning. Trade talks and oil prices remain in focus, banks are moving to center stage and U.S. stocks are at a record high. Here’s what’s moving markets.
Trade and Oil
The U.S. and China are set to restart trade talks in Beijing next week as they push to hit a target of having a draft agreement in place by the end of May. That’s starting just as the U.S. has removed sanctions waivers on Iranian oil imports, which sent crude prices higher on Monday and Tuesday, though they’ve dipped a little on Wednesday. That move by the Trump administration risks testing some key relationships, including with China, all as Asian trade continues to slow.
Credit Suisse Group AG got the European bank earnings season underway with net revenue slightly outpacing estimates. Eyes will then turn to the rest of the investment banking names to report this week, with UBS Group AG and Barclays Plc on Thursday and Deutsche Bank AG on Friday. Await updates too on DWS Group AG, Deutsche Bank's assets management unit, which is said to be holding talks with its equivalent at UBS. And watch Wirecard AG, the German payments firm, which this morning confirmed an investment by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp.
Brexit is back. Prime Minister Theresa May has returned to work facing pressures from all sides. Now, she’s considering taking a gamble to push through legislation that would enshrine her rejected Brexit deal in law, which would allow her opponents to add their own wants to the bill and therefore pass it when it next comes to a vote. Whether she’ll be successful remains to be seen. Beyond that, U.K. companies are using the delay to get back into high-yield debt markets and stockpiling will mean the jump in pig prices won’t impact British sausage lovers.
U.S. stocks are on a roll. The S&P 500 hit a record high Tuesday as earnings reports continued to surprise to the upside. Note, however, that defensive investment styles are looking pricey in a sign that caution still reigns and bears are trying to rain on the parade. The Nasdaq is on cloud nine too, albeit thanks to the outsize influence of a small number of big stocks. There’s every chance that could continue with giants Microsoft Corp. and Facebook Inc. both reporting after the close.
Asian stocks slid Wednesday, demonstrating how the market lacks the catalysts that have pushed U.S. stocks to a record. European futures are pointing to a slightly negative open. Plenty of big U.S. earnings are coming up during the European session, including industrial machinery group Caterpillar Inc. and embattled planemaker Boeing Co. We’ll get a rate decision from the Bank of Canada and closely watched crude inventories in the U.S., plus the IFO economic-activity indicator in Germany.
What We’ve Been Reading
This is what’s caught our eye over the past 24 hours.
- Paris is making a play for London’s Brexit exiles.
- The varying cost of investment research in Europe.
- Warren Buffett thinks most print newspapers are “toast.”
- How Notre Dame’s bees survived the fire.
- John McAfee has vowed to unmask Bitcoin’s secretive creator.
- The world needs climate-resistant cows in order to keep eating meat.
- The “smokejumpers” who parachute in to fight wildfires.
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