April 27, 2018, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
Give peace a chance
Kim Jong Un became the first North Korean leader to cross the border to the South today in a watershed breakthrough in the nuclear-armed peninsula. They agreed to declare an end to the war this year, and to aim for complete denuclearization. While markets have welcomed the meeting and the announcements, there remains a view that the potential summit between President Donald Trump and Kim remains the bigger event.
At 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, first-quarter GDP for the U.S. is released, with economists surveyed by Bloomberg expecting a slowdown to 2 percent growth over the period. Core PCE — the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation — is expected to quicken to 2.5 percent, a number that would lead to lively discussion at next week’s Fed meeting. GDP data released in Europe this morning showed a slowdown in euro-area growth, and almost a complete stop to U.K. expansion.
After French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Washington earlier this week failed to convince Trump to change his mind on the Iran deal, today, German leader Angela Merkel gets her chance to try to sway the U.S. leader on the issue, and maybe also steer him away from trade war with Europe. The chances of a U.S. withdrawal from the Iran agreement and the possibility of Iranian retaliation are still keeping a floor under oil prices.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.6 percent, while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.3 percent higher after the Bank of Japan left its policy stance unchanged. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was broadly unchanged at 5:30 a.m., with the gauge on track for its fifth consecutive week of gains. S&P 500 futures were broadly unchanged, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.970 percent and gold was slightly higher.
Tech earnings yesterday put smiles on lots of faces as Amazon.com Inc., Intel Corp., and Microsoft Corp. all beat expectations. Today is the turn of big oil to dominate proceedings, with Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. both reporting. Oil watchers will also be keeping an eye on today’s Baker Hughes rig count which has been on a strong run recently.