Oct 16, 2018, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo arrived in Saudi Arabia this morning as the kingdom remains under pressure to explain the disappearance of writer Jamal Khashoggi after entering its embassy in Turkey. Media reports suggest that authorities in Riyadh are considering saying that the journalist died in a botched interrogation. Foreign direct investment – a key plank of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s turnaround plan for the economy – could be hit by the crisis. Oil is giving up some of yesterday’s gains in this morning’s trade.
Goldman, Morgan Stanley
It is a red-letter day for bank earnings in the U.S. with both Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley reporting quarterly results before the bell. With lender results so far this earnings season proving something of a mixed bag, investors are having a harder than usual time anticipating what the figures this morning will look like. Netflix Inc.’s report after the bell will also be closely watched amid the continued tech selloff.
European leaders gather as hopes of a breakthrough on Brexit negotiations this week remain very low, with Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics telling reporters than he sees a 50-50 chance of talks failing to reach any deal ahead of the U.K.’s exit from the bloc next March. While both sides still talk like they want to forge an agreement, the issues of the Northern Ireland border and the so-called “backstop” are proving intractable. There was some good news for the U.K. economy this morning when data showed unemployment remained at a multi-decade low of 4 percent, while wages grew at the strongest pace since 2009.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.5 percent while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.7 percent higher as the region’s gauges started to recover from the recent selloff. In Europe, it was a similar story, with the Stoxx 600 Index rising 0.4 percent by 5:45 a.m. Eastern Time with Italian stocks among the best performers. S&P 500 futures pointed to a higher open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 3.171 percent and gold held recent gains.
At 11:30 a.m., the Treasury debuts a new eight-week note with a $25 billion sale of the security, adding to its funding dashboard to help finance the budget deficit. In economic data today, U.S. September industrial production is due at 9:15 a.m. JOLTS job openings is at 10:00 a.m., and Treasury International Capital flows are at 4:00 p.m.