Nov 9, 2018, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
Democrats who take over control of the House in January are promising to launch probes into President Donald Trump’s policy decisions and personal financial affairs. The difficulty for the White House is that the president’s new chief lawyer has yet to take up his position, while his office is already severely depleted of staff. In other legal appointment news, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and U.S. Appeals Court Judge Edith Jones are among those being considered to replace Jeff Sessions permanently as Attorney General. Tuesday’s election results still haven’t been finalized as a recount in Florida remains a possibility.
A barrel of West Texas Intermediate for December delivery dropped below $60 in trading this morning as the commodity heads for its longest losing streak on record. With prices now more than 20 percent below the high hit in early October, oil is now in a bear market. The tumble comes ahead of this weekend’s meeting with OPEC and its allies in Abu Dhabi, with producers suggesting that their next move might be to cut production. In the short term, technical factors suggest that there might be more downside for crude before a turnaround.
This morning’s third-quarter GDP number saw British growth at the strongest level in two years, but included something of a sting in the tail as momentum stopped in August and September. The data also showed an improvement in the country’s net trade position as the deficit in goods fell to 9.7 billion pounds ($12.6 billion) in September. In Westminster, the focus continues to be on finding a Brexit deal that can both pass parliament and find European Union approval, with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which Prime Minister Theresa May relies on for support, saying it will not back her current proposal.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 1.1 percent while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.5 percent lower with technology companies leading the losses. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.6 percent lower at 5:45 a.m. Eastern Time as commodity producers took a hit while luxury goods makers were hit by a warning from Richemont who blamed poor results on weakening Chinese demand. S&P 500 futures pointed to a drop at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 3.208 percent and gold was lower.
U.S. producer price inflation data for October due at 8:30 a.m. is expected to show a rise of 0.2 percent for the month. At 10:00 a.m., the latest University of Michigan sentiment numbers are released, with September wholesale inventories data at the same time. Now that the latest Fed decision has been announced, governors and regional presidents are back on the speaking circuit, with New York Federal Reserve President John Williams, Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker and Fed Vice Chairman Randal Quarles all due later. At 1:00 p.m., Baker Hughes releases its latest rig count.