Jan 3, 2019, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
Canary in the global economy
Apple Inc. cited weaker demand in China when it cut its revenue outlook for the first time in almost 20 years. In a letter to investors, posted after U.S. markets closed yesterday, CEO Tim Cook said sales would be about $84 billion for the quarter ended Dec. 29, down from earlier estimates of $89 billion to $93 billion. Tech companies in Asia and Europe saw their shares hit by the announcement, while there may be broader political fallout from the news as it calls into question President Donald Trump’s trade tactics.
There were some odd movements in currency markets overnight, with the yen jumping almost 8 percent against the Australian dollar and surging 10 percent versus the Turkish lira. The cause of the moves remains unclear, with everything from the Apple news to thin liquidity on a Japanese holiday to algorithmic trading all getting some of the blame. The rapid swing in the currency happened during what is know as the witching hour between the close in New York and the open in Tokyo.
New House, no deal
Nancy Pelosi is all but certain to become House speaker later today as the new Congress is sworn in and Democrats take control of the chamber. Top of the agenda for the new congressional term will be finding a solution to the ongoing government shutdown, which is entering its 13th day. A meeting yesterday between the White House and Republican and Democrat leaders produced nothing more than an invitation to further talks on Friday.
Overnight the MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan Index lost 0.5 percent as tech shares in the region were hit, with rapid currency moves doing nothing to help improve sentiment. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.8 percent lower at 5:50 a.m Eastern Time as growing concerns over China hit shares from miners to luxury goods makers. S&P 500 futures pointed to sharp drop at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.641 percent and gold was higher.
We get a last look at the U.S. labor market this morning ahead of tomorrow’s payrolls number with ADP employment change data for December at 8:15 a.m. and weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ISM manufacturing is due at 10:00 a.m., with auto sales numbers coming throughout the day.