China wants to stay out of Trump’s trade war, squabbling over tunnels and borders stalls U.S. spending bill, and tech disasters show human failings. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.
Premier Li Keqiang sought to quell a full-blown trade war with the U.S. after reports the White House plans to impose tariffs worth as much as $60 billion on Chinese products. Promising to protect intellectual property rights, he said China won’t force foreign companies to transfer technology to domestic counterparts in their investment plans. “There’s no winner in a trade war, and war is going against the rules of trade, which are based on negotiation, consultation and dialogue,” Li said. Those sentiments were echoed by Group of 20 representatives who told U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday that tariffs on steel and aluminum threaten an essential pillar of the global economy.
Republican attempts to cobble together a comprehensive $1.2 trillion spending bill hit further snags as the clock ticks to get congressional approval before government funding expires at the end of Friday. Talks stalled over immigration, border security, tax breaks and a tunnel under the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey. Any disruption in the process risks triggering a temporary weekend shutdown of government operations.
A self-driving test car from Uber Technologies Inc. hit and killed a pedestrian in Arizona. And Facebook Inc. tried to dispel outrage over its data leak but its public relations efforts backfired. Fears that the breach will spark a regulatory avalanche sent the tech-heavy Nasdaq indexes to the steepest losses in six weeks yesterday. All reminders that technology gods are, after all, only human.
Global bourses are still digesting Monday’s tech rout. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.2 percent as of 6:03 a.m. Eastern Time while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.2 percent lower. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was up less than 0.1 percent led by banks and insurers. S&P 500 futures pointed to a lower opening. Bond yields continued a march higher, with the 10-year Treasury yield up one basis point to 2.87 percent. Oil futures gained 0.7 percent.
It’s a big week for monetary policy, with the Federal Reserve meeting Wednesday. New Chairman Jerome Powell will update projections on the interest-rate path, known as the dot plot, while a hike is seen as a done deal. Then on Thursday comes the Bank of England decision, with the central bank expected to keep interest rates and its asset-purchase program unchanged. But there will be enough in the meeting to hold traders’ attention as they dissect the statement’s language and assign odds to a May hike.