Larry Kudlow picked as White House economic adviser, Unilever to abandon U.K. headquarters, and it’s Putin’s move as tensions escalate over poisoning. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.
Incoming White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow gave a trading recommendation in his first interview after his appointment was announced: “buy King Dollar and I would sell gold.” Kudlow, recently a critic of Federal Reserve policy, is a long-time supporter of low taxes and said that permanent cuts for individuals should come under ‘phase two’ of the fiscal overhaul. The dollar was unchanged in trading this morning.
In a blow to Theresa May’s efforts to maintain investment in the U.K., Unilever has said it is consolidating its headquarters in the Netherlands, abandoning the British base it has maintained for nearly a century. For other businesses looking at the future U.K.-European Union relationship, there may be some clarity after this weekend as Brexit Secretary David Davis heads to Brussels to try to hammer out a transition agreement. Frankfurt, meanwhile, is starting to reap the benefits of the continued uncertainty, with the Association of Foreign Banks in Germany saying about 20 foreign lenders have decided to expand their presence in the city.
The U.K. is braced for a response from Moscow following the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats in retaliation for the poisoning of a former spy and his daughter which British authorities hold Russia responsible. The country’s Foreign Ministry said “response measures will not be long in coming.” U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley backed the U.K. position at the United Nations saying America “believes Russia is responsible for the attack.”
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced less than 0.1 percent, while Japan’s Topix index closed little changed as the yen strengthened. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.3 percent higher at 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time, with miners again among the top performers. S&P 500 futures pointed to a small gain at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.819 percent and gold slipped.
At 8:30 a.m., weekly jobless claims data, February U.S. import prices, March Empire manufacturing and the Philadelphia Fed outlook all are due to be published. At 4:00 p.m. January TIC flows are released by the U.S. Treasury. It is also worth keeping an eye on developments north of the border today, as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tries to accelerate NAFTA talks ahead of elections in Mexico and the U.S.