July 18, 2018, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
The European Union is set to announce a record fine of 4.3 billion euros ($5 billion) for Google over apps for Android mobile devices. The antitrust penalty would bring the running total of EU charges imposed on the company to 6.7 billion euros. Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is due to give a press conference at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time announcing the decision.
President Donald Trump issued a public clarification of remarks he made in Helsinki following pressure from Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to a person familiar with the deliberations. Trump said he misspoke with a single word, saying he meant “wouldn’t” when he said “I don’t see any reason why it would be Russia,” at the post-meeting press conference with Russian Leader Vladimir Putin. In the Senate, Republican leader Mitch McConnell warned that the House would move to introduce new sanctions against Moscow should there be any evidence of interference in November’s crucial mid-term elections.
Sterling dropped to a 10-month low after data released this morning showed inflation in the U.K. held at 2.4 percent in June, below economist expectations for an increase to 2.6 percent. Core price pressures slowed to 1.9 percent, a 15-month low. Investors, who had expected the Bank of England to raise rates at next month’s meeting, pared their bets on that outcome following the release. The pound had already been under pressure this week as Brexit votes in parliament show Prime Minister Theresa May’s majority on the issue has become razor thin.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.4 percent higher after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s remarks on the U.S. economy allayed concerns on the global growth outlook. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.5 percent higher at 5:40 a.m. with most industry sectors gaining. S&P 500 futures pointed to a slightly higher open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.860 percent and gold dropped.
At 10:00 a.m., Fed Chair Jerome Powell will begin his second day of Congressional testimony when he sits down in front of the House Financial Services committee. At 10:30 a.m., the crude inventory report is published, which under-pressure oil investors will watch closely. At 2:00 p.m., the U.S. central bank releases the Beige Book. In earnings today, Morgan Stanley, American Express Co., International Business Machines Corp., and eBay Inc. are all due to report.