Mar 26, 2019, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
The MPs strike back
Parliament in London seized control of the Brexit process last night in a move which will allow lawmakers to hold a series of indicative votes on the way forward. The range of possible outcomes include everything from leaving with no deal to holding another referendum, to even cancelling Brexit altogether. As the votes are only indicative – that is, they will only show which option commands a majority – Prime Minister Theresa May could just ignore the results. However, as time is now very, very short she may have to accept whatever a clear majority chooses. The votes will be held tomorrow, and might finally give markets the direction they need to rouse from their Brexit ennui.
President Donald Trump’s administration is arguing that the entire legal underpinning of Obamacare is unconstitutional, a hardening of a previous position that only sought to strike down parts of the law. The Justice Department filed with the Fifth Circuit court yesterday seeking to have the entire act thrown out. The move ensures that health will become a major campaign issue for the 2020 election, with polls showing that Democrats are generally seen more favorably by voters on healthcare.
Xi in Paris
China’s President Xi Jinping is in Paris today as he continues his European tour trying to increase support for his signature Belt and Road trade project. His visit to Italy earlier this week proved somewhat controversial as it put further strain on the already shaky government coalition there. The welcome in Paris has been warmer as the delegation from China came with their checkbooks, signing a $35 billion deal to buy 300 new aircraft from Airbus AE. This morning Xi is meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
Overnight the MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 1 percent, while Japan’s Topix index closed 2.6 percent higher in a rebound from yesterday’s steepest declines of the year. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.3 percent higher at 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time, snapping a four-session losing streak as investors favored defensive stocks. S&P 500 futures pointed to a similar move higher at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.441 percent and gold was lower.
At 8:30 a.m. U.S. February housing starts data is released, with S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller house price inflation at 9:00 a.m. March consumer confidence is due at 10:00 a.m. Apple Inc. investors, still scratching their heads on the company’s pivot to services, will be watching for the U.S. International Trade Commission’s decision on whether it will ban the import of iPhones to America as part of a long-running patent battle between Apple and Qualcomm Inc.