February 9, 2018, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
Another late-session plunge into the U.S. close yesterday spurring a correction in the S&P 500 Index has triggered selling across the globe. Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 1.8 percent, while Japan’s Topix Index closed down 1.9 percent, taking the gauge’s losses for the week to 8 percent. China’s Shenzhen Composite Index plunged 3.2 percent, pushing into a bear market from the Nov. 2016 high. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was somewhat calmer, trading 0.4 percent lower at 5:45 a.m. Eastern Time. S&P 500 futures added 0.6 percent, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.849 percent, and gold was lower.
The Senate passed a vote on a two-year budget agreement in the early hours of this morning, after a long delay prompted by objections from Republican Senator Rand Paul over the spending elements in the deal. The House vote on the legislation, which ended just after 5:30 a.m., also passed which means the partial government shutdown that began at midnight will end before most federal workers arrive at their jobs. Perhaps more importantly, the budget effectively ends the risk of another government shutdown for at least a year.
British Prime Minister Theresa May continues to hold a firm line on Brexit negotiations, telling her negotiating team to never compromise as she seeks a deal with Europe that would allow Britain many of the benefits of membership without the perceived political cost of losing sovereignty. In Europe, more eyes are focussed on Germany where a backlash is building among members of both sides of the coalition agreement over the terms of the deal, before Social Democrat party members have even had a chance to vote on it.
There will soon be a challenger to global oil benchmarks Brent and West Texas Intermediate as a new crude-futures contract will start trading in China, in local currency, on March 26. The contract, which will be open to foreigners, is the country’s first attempt at domestic crude futures since 1993. Things have not been great in the oil market, with a barrel of WTI for March delivery trading at $60.52, setting the commodity up for its worst week in a year. Latest rig count data from Baker Hughes Inc. are due at 1:00 p.m. today.
Qualcomm Inc.’s board unanimously rejected the $121 billion offer from Broadcom Ltd., which the company has described as its “best and final.” The future of the hostile takeover now will be decided by shareholders who will vote next month on whether to replace Qualcomm’s current board with one chosen by Broadcom. Hock Tan, Chief Executive Officer of Broadcom, warned that the world has changed more than Qualcomm’s board realizes, in an interview with Bloomberg earlier this week.