Sep 12, 2018, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
Florence and Mangkhut
The National Weather Service is warning of potential “catastrophic flash flooding” when Hurricane Florence, currently more than 575 miles (925 kilometers) from the coast, makes landfall late Thursday or early Friday. Companies from agricultural firm Cargill Inc. to carmaker Daimler AG suspended operations in its path, with insurers likely to be hit with a large bill to cover lost revenues. On the other side of the globe, Super Typhoon Mangkhut, forecast to pack winds as high as 260 kilometers (162 miles) per hour by Friday, entered the Philippines and continues on a path towards Hong Kong by the weekend.
Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Twitter Inc., Facebook Inc. and other tech firms could be hit with fines as high as 4 percent of annual revenue under proposed European legislation. The latter would require the companies to remove terror propaganda within an hour of being requested to take the material down by national authorities. In the U.S., Attorney General Jeff Sessions is exploring a potential investigation of social media companies to see if they have breached antitrust or consumer-protection laws. Investors pushed shares in Apple Inc. 2.5 percent higher in trading yesterday ahead of today’s new iPhone launch.
Fed, ECB outlook
The futures markets shows the highest chance yet of two more hikes from the U.S. central bank this year, with the first seen as a near certainty at the Federal Reserve meeting later this month. In Europe, the press conference following the ECB’s monetary policy decision tomorrow may help investors decide on the timing of a rate hike, with traders betting on no move until end-2019, later than economists’ projections. Officials familiar with the ECB’s latest projections say forecasts for euro-area growth will be tweaked lower as trade tensions damp global demand.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.2 percent to extend its run of losing sessions to a ten consecutive day, the longest losing streak in 16 years. Japan’s Topix index closed 0.5 percent lower. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.2 percent higher at 5:45 a.m. Eastern Time, with energy companies and miners among the biggest gainers as commodities gained. S&P 500 futures pointed to a gain at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.961 percent and gold was lower.
A barrel of West Texas Intermediate for October delivery was trading at $69.70 by 5:45 a.m. as crude held onto yesterday’s gains following yesterday’s U.S. inventory data that increased fears of a supply crunch. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters that the country could add as much as 300,000 barrels per day to production within a year, if needed, as output concerns increase ahead of U.S. sanctions on Iran kicking in on Nov. 4.