July 24, 2018, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
Answering (some) questions
President Donald Trump would agree to an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators as long as the questions are limited solely to whether his campaign colluded with Russia in the run-up to the 2016 election, lawyer Rudy Giuliani said. The possible compromise comes even as Trump continues to attack the investigation as a “witch hunt” and “rigged.” The president also faces other legal headaches, including a case brought by adult film star Stormy Daniels that he wants to fight in Los Angeles rather than New York. The president retains an 88 percent approval rating among Republican voters.
A theme is emerging in global purchasing manager index data today: a slowdown may be on the way. Japan’s manufacturing sector lost steam, with the Nikkei PMI for manufacturers coming in at 51.6, the lowest since November 2016. In Europe, there are signs protectionism is already starting to weigh on output, with survey respondents reporting rising prices for raw materials and delivery delays as IHS Markit’s composite PMI for the euro area fell to 54.3. Germany managed to buck the trend, with manufacturing PMI jumping to 57.3. Data for the U.S. are due at 9:45 a.m. Eastern Time.
Chinese financial markets are rising as investors rediscover their appetite for risk in the wake of government moves to stimulate the economy. The offshore yuan continued to slide, trading at 6.4 to the dollar, its weakest level in more than year in the wake of a record injection of funding to lenders by the People’s Bank of China. The rally in stocks still faces major headwinds, not least the continuing trade dispute with the U.S.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.6 percent while the Shanghai Composite Index closed 1.6 percent higher. Japan’s Topix index ended the session with a 0.5 percent gain as machinery makers were the biggest winners. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 1.0 percent higher at 5:50 a.m. amid positive earnings data. S&P 500 futures pointed to a gain at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.950 percent and gold was little changed.
There is a crucial rate decision from the Bank of Turkey due at 7:00 a.m. with economists forecasting a 100 basis point hike. It is another busy day for earnings with AT&T Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp., Harley-Davidson Inc. and 3M Co. among those reporting. At 6:00 p.m., Chile’s central bank announces its latest monetary policy decision.