July 16, 2018, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
Donald Trump is meeting Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland this morning with the president under pressure to confront his Kremlin counterpart over meddling in the 2016 election. Trump said that he will inevitably be criticized for the gathering, no matter the outcome, tweeting that “much of our news media is indeed the enemy of the people.” In an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” aired yesterday, he described the European Union as a “foe.” Putin and Trump are expected to hold a post-meeting press conference around 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. plans to name company President David Solomon as its next CEO, the New York Times reported Sunday, citing people briefed on the plan. The move would be another step towards the exit for Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO who helped the bank navigate the financial crisis. In Europe, there was some good news for battered Deutsche Bank AG shareholders after the lender said that second-quarter profits had “considerably” topped analyst estimates. Shares in the German bank rallied more than 8 percent following the announcement.
The Chinese economy grew 6.7 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, the slowest pace since 2016. While the headline number was in line with expectations, some of the underlying data such as industrial output was weaker than forecast. Continued deleveraging and a slowdown in investment growth, coupled with risks from a trade war with the U.S., mean headwinds facing the world’s second largest economy are building. This is feeding through to wider worries about the prospects for global expansion.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index fell 0.3 percent, with the Shanghai Composite index closing 0.6 percent lower. Japan was closed for a holiday. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.1 percent lower at 6:30 a.m. with the financial sector, led by Deutsche Bank, a stand-out winner. S&P 500 futures pointed to an unchanged open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.834 percent and gold was little changed.
At 8:30 a.m. today U.S. retail sales data for June are released, with economists expecting a drop to 0.5 percent from the previous month’s 0.8 percent growth. At the same time, the New York Fed’s Empire manufacturing gauge for July is published. The International Monetary Fund is due to announce its latest World Economic Outlook update today. In earnings, Bank of America Corp., Blackrock Inc. and Netflix Inc. are all due to report.