April 18, 2018, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
CIA Director Mike Pompeo traveled to North Korea a few weeks ago to meet Kim Jong Un in preparation for a possible summit with President Donald Trump, according to two people familiar with the matter. The visit is seen as a strong indication that a meeting between the two leaders could produce a deal on future relations with the isolated country. Kim is due to make the first trip to the south by a North Korean leader on April 27, with expectations mounting that the two countries that share the Korean peninsula could formally declare the end to war.
U.K. consumer prices rose 2.5 percent for the year ending March, below economist expectations for a repeat of February’s 2.7 percent. The pound dropped after the data were released, losing more than a cent against the dollar as analysts wound back their expectations for a rate rise from the Bank of England. There was also an inflation miss in the euro area, with the headline gauge for March revised down to 1.3 percent from the earlier flash estimate of 1.4 percent. Core inflation remained unchanged at 1 percent.
A barrel of West Texas Intermediate for May delivery added to yesterday’s gains to trade at $67.12 by 5:40 a.m. Eastern Time. While geopolitical tensions drove the rally last week, now signs of waning U.S. inventories are helping to keep it alive, with an industry report saying stockpiles fell last week. OPEC and Russia are due to meet in Saudi Arabia this week, and despite the success of their production cuts in eliminating the global oil glut, they’re expected to maintain them, for now.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.7 percent, while Japan’s Topix index closed 1.1 percent higher as optimism mounted after the meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Trump. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index gave up earlier gains to trade 0.1 percent lower with automakers among the worst performers following disappointing regional sales data. S&P 500 futures pointed to a small gain at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.834 percent, and gold was slightly lower.
It’s Morgan Stanley’s turn to report earnings today, with estimates for adjusted earnings per share at $1.25. At 10:00 a.m., the Bank of Canada is expected to hold rates unchanged, with all eyes on Governor Stephen Poloz’s press conference for clues as to the future rate path. At 2:00 p.m., the Fed releases the Beige Book; at 3:15 p.m. New York Fed President William Dudley speaks about the U.S. economic outlook. An hour later Fed Governor Randal Quarles addresses the Bretton Woods Committee Annual Meeting in Washington.