Sep 28, 2018, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
The Securities and Exchange Commission, moving with unusual speed, is suing Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk for his August tweet about taking the company private. The SEC accuses Musk of misleading investors and is seeking to ban him from serving as a director, raising the possibility of Tesla losing its founder. Shares in the company are more than 10 percent lower in pre-market trading.
Investors are selling Italian assets, with the FTSEMIB Index of shares declining 3.9 percent and the country’s 10-year yield jumping to 3.247 percent, after the populist government agreed a budget which sets next year’s deficit at 2.4 percent. Markets had been looking for a figure below 2 percent, while one European Union official said the deficit target should have been closer to 1.6 percent of GDP. Claudio Borghi, the euroskeptic head of the budget committee in the lower house said that Italy won’t be “hostage” to the markets. The budget has to be presented to the European Commission for approval by mid-October.
The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh today, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the full Senate will vote ” in the coming days.” Yesterday’s testimony in front of the committee from both Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford proved to be every bit as partisan as expected, with President Donald Trump praising his nominee’s performance. In one possible last minute hitch, the American Bar Association has called for the vote to be delayed to allow the FBI conduct a full investigation into the allegations made against Kavanaugh.
Overnight the MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.4 percent while Japan’s Topix index closed 1 percent higher as the yen weakened to the lowest level against the dollar since December 2017. In Europe the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.3 percent lower at 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time as the selloff in Italy weighed on the region. S&P 500 futures pointed to a slightly lower open, the 10-year Treasury yield stood at 3.037 percent and gold was higher.
U.S. personal income and spending data for August is due at 8:30 a.m., with the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge – the PCE Deflator – expected to slow to 2.2 percent when it published as part of the income report. Canadian GDP for July is also due at 8:30 a.m. Oil market watchers get to round off what has been a busy week with the Baker Hughes rig count at 1:00 p.m.