Sep 21, 2018, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
Today sees a collision of two major events that have the potential to significantly increase volatility in U.S. stocks. The first is quadruple witching – the quarterly expiration of futures and options on indexes and individual stocks. The second is the largest revision to the Global Industry Classification Standard since 1999. Add to the mix the fact that U.S. stocks are trading at record highs and Wall Street analysts are talking up opportunities outside America, and you could have a recipe for plenty of moves once markets open.
The expansion in the euro area unexpectedly slowed in September as data from IHS Market’s Purchasing Managers Index showed manufacturing-export orders slumped to the lowest level in five years. The composite index for the common-currency zone slowed to 54.2 for the month, with the number for France dropping to 53.6 while Germany’s PMI of manufacturing and services slipped slightly more than expected to 55.3. September manufacturing, services and composite PMIs for the U.S. are due at 9:45 a.m. Eastern Time.
British Prime Minister Theresa May did not seem to get her way at the summit in Austria, with European leaders bluntly rejecting her blueprint for an exit deal. May’s refusal to make the concessions the EU was looking for seems to have put the bloc on the offensive. The harshness of the rejection came as a surprise to some who had seen the gathering as an opportunity to mend bridges. European Council President Donald Tusk warned that next month’s leaders’ summit is now the “moment of truth” for negotiations.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 1.0 percent while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.9 percent higher for the biggest weekly gain since July 2016. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.5 percent higher at 5:45 a.m. as shares in the region rose amid the global risk-on mood. S&P 500 futures pointed to a gain at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 3.076 percent and gold was broadly unchanged.
A lawyer for Christine Blasey Ford, a California college professor who accuses Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, asked the Senate Judiciary Committee to push back a hearing on her claims until Sept. 27 and take testimony from additional witnesses. Republicans on the committee face a balancing act between the need to get President Donald Trump’s nominee onto the Supreme Court and not alienating female or moderate voters so close to the crucial midterm elections.