Trump blocks Broadcom’s attempted Qualcomm takeover, U.K. gets an update on the budget, and a power overhaul in China. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.
Not for sale
President Donald Trump’s executive order blocking Broadcom Ltd.’s hostile bid for Qualcomm Inc. on national security grounds is being viewed as further evidence of the administration’s tough stance against foreign takeovers of the country’s tech firms. The fear was that China would gain an edge in critical technology by encouraging Qualcomm to reduce R&D. That could have put Huawei Technologies Co. in the lead in developing next-generation wireless solutions. The ending of the takeover, however, does not mean Qualcomm’s problems are over, with Chief Executive Officer Steve Mollenkopf facing a long to-do list in order to regain the faith of shareholders. The company’s stock dropped 4.8 percent in pre-market trading.
At 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond will give his Spring Statement in which he will update forecasts for the British economy. While there may not be a huge amount to move markets in his speech, Hammond is under pressure to end the government’s austerity program – and the budget watchdog reporting an expected improvement in public finances may bolster the case.
Plans presented at China’s National People’s Congress make significant changes to how the government will work in the country, handing more power to President Xi Jinping. The central bank will get more control over the financial sector as authorities attempt to curb risks in the $43 trillion banking and insurance industries. There will also be a single agency formed to manage the country’s international development, including Xi’s “One Belt, One Road” pet project.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.2 percent, while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.6 percent higher as the yen weakened ahead of U.S. inflation data due later today. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.1 percent higher at 5:45 a.m. in light trading. S&P 500 futures pointed to a gain at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.877 percent and gold was lower.
The big data point for markets today is U.S. inflation for February, with analysts expecting a 2.2 percent increase from a year earlier. Core inflation is expected to remain unchanged at 1.8 percent. While any surprise in the data is unlikely to derail a Federal Reserve rate hike this month, it will feed into expectations on the pace of monetary tightening.