Oct 17, 2018, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, before he left Saudi Arabia for Turkey, that the kingdom understands the need to rapidly conclude the investigation into Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance. President Donald Trump, who has been critical of mounting global condemnation of Saudi Arabia, said it “ would be bad” if the country’s crown prince and king knew about what happened to Khashoggi. As the crisis continues, the list of people and organizations pulling out of the “Davos in the desert” event continues to grow, with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde among the latest to walk away.
British Prime Minister Theresa May heads to today’s European Leaders summit with the seemingly impossible task of reaching an agreement on the U.K.’s exit from the bloc which will both be sufficient for the 27 remaining member states, and be able to pass a vote in Westminster. While there may be little hope of resolving the impasse today, negotiators will get another chance to reach a compromise at another summit next month. Sterling traders appear to remain positive on the prospects of a deal, with volatility markets showing bets on a resolution – one way or the other – within two months.
The minutes of the Federal Reserve’s Sept. 25-26 gathering are due to be published at 2 pm. Eastern Time today, with investors likely to comb through them to try to find any hint as to how high policy makers will push interest rates before pausing. One key topic to watch for will be any discussion on where the neutral rate lies. Donald Trump, meanwhile, appears to have had enough of rate hikes already, calling the Fed his “biggest threat” as he repeated concerns that tightening is happening too fast in an interview on Fox Business Network yesterday.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.8 percent while Japan’s Topix index closed 1.5 percent higher as tech stocks provided the biggest boost to the region. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.2 percent lower at 5:45 a.m., with automakers among the worst performers amid worries about the sector’s earnings. S&P 500 futures pointed to a lower open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 3.165 percent, and gold was slightly higher.
Results after the bell yesterday from Netflix Inc., where the company beat even the most bullish forecasts, pushed its stock up more than 11 percent in pre-market trading. The turnaround in tech shares began before Netflix reported on Tuesday and gathered momentum in Asia. Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc., Apple Inc. and Google parent Alphabet Inc. are also gaining ahead of the U.S. open.