Federal Reserve policy makers are expected to keep rates unchanged when they announce the latest monetary decision at 2 p.m. Eastern Time today. While there will be an accompanying statement, there is no press conference scheduled for today. Analyst attention is likely to be on the outlook for inflation, which recently hit its 2 percent target and prompted some to suggest the Fed’s best tactic would be to err on the side of boring.
If the Fed’s headache is rising inflation, the European Central Bank’s problem continues to be lackluster growth. Figures released this morning showed that growth in the euro area slowed to 0.4 percent in the first quarter, down from 0.7 percent previously. The easing momentum, while not completely unexpected, may further ease pressure on the ECB to dial back monetary stimulus. A separate report showed unemployment in the common-currency area held steady at 8.5 percent.
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Robert Mueller, who’s leading the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign, believes he has the legal power to subpoena President Donald Trump to appear before a grand jury should the president refuse to be interviewed. Negotiations over the meeting between Mueller and Trump’s legal team have been ongoing since last year, with the president’s lawyers said to oppose a cross-examination. Trump, for the moment, seems content to continue mounting his defense against the probe via Twitter.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.3 percent as most of the region’s markets reopened after a holiday. Japan’s Topix Index closed 0.2 percent lower led by a decline in automakers. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.7 percent higher at 5:45 a.m. with miners the best-performing sector, while the weakening euro gave a boost to exporters. S&P 500 futures pointed to a small gain at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.991 percent and gold was higher.
After yesterday’s earnings blowout from Apple Inc., today it’s the turn of Tesla Inc. to see if it can silence the critics. The biggest fear with the electric-car maker is its rate of cash burn, with Goldman Sachs Group analysts expecting the company to miss the consensus estimate of an adjusted loss per share of $3.42 when it reports after the bell. There will be interest for bond traders in today’s announcement from the Treasury Department of the quarterly refunding plan in the wake of record first-quarter issuance.