Apr 15, 2019, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
Fed up with the Fed
President Donald Trump took another swipe at the Federal Reserve on Twitter yesterday, blaming it for reducing growth and keeping a lid on equity prices. Trump has often expressed impatience with the monetary authority and the latest attack comes as his two picks for the Fed’s Board of Governors come under increasing scrutiny, with several Republicans suggesting that Herman Cain may not be able to win Senate confirmation. While Powell defended the institution’s independence from political interference last week, ECB President Mario Draghi felt it necessary to weigh in on the debate at the IMF meeting over the weekend.
(More) Trade talks
Confidence that China and the U.S. will narrow their differences on trade is growing while talks between others get underway. The European Union this morning gave negotiators the green light to begin discussions with the U.S. on eliminating tariffs on industrial goods while an ongoing dispute over aircraft manufacturer subsidies threatens the imposition of new tariffs by both sides. Next week in Washington, a delegation from Japan begins bilateral trade talks as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks to avoid becoming the next China for Trump.
Wall Street earnings
After JPMorgan Chase & Co. got bank earnings season off to a stronger-than-expected start on Friday, today sees the first-quarter results from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. Investors are likely to focus on how Goldman is dealing with its hangover from the 1MDB scandal in Malaysia, while for Citi, M&A may prove a bright spot.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.5 percent while Japan’s Topix index closed 1.4 percent higher as the gauge rebounded from last week’s disappointing performance. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.1 percent higher at 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time in a quiet session as investors await earnings data. S&P 500 futures were unchanged, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.560 percent and gold was lower.
The Spring IMF/World Bank meetings ended at the weekend with an air of cautious optimism. While the IMF did cut its forecast for growth, the risk of a recession remains low. Despite the gloomy outlook for its biggest economy, Mario Draghi expressed confidence that the eurozone would bounce back. The disagreement on the board of the ECB over how to handle the fallout from negative rates came to the fore, as at least one member thinks there is no need for tiering to help out banks. Speaking of central banks, the IMF was, unsurprisingly, strongly in favor of maintaining those institutions’ political independence.