Apr 30, 2019, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
Investors got a huge helping of European economic data this morning. French output in the first quarter came in at 0.3 percent, matching the fourth-quarter pace in 2018, while Spain expanded 0.7 percent over the period, outpacing forecasts. That’s all helped to push euro-area growth to 0.4 percent, the fastest clip in three quarters. There was good news for the region’s largest economy too, with the jobless number falling more than expected in Germany, while unemployment across the currency region dropped to 7.7 percent. The euro strengthened and bund yields moved into positive territory in the wake of the data.
The big number for markets today will be Apple Inc.’s results after the bell, with investors looking for cheer after disappointing releases from Alphabet Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. In Europe, Airbus SE announced an earnings surge in the first quarter after the company saw a big jump in production of its A320 narrow-body jet. BP Plc profits matched estimates. GM Corp, General Electric Co., Pfizer Inc. and McDonald’s Corp. are among the long list of corporate earnings due today.
The U.S. trade delegation is in China’s capital with hopes high that a deal can be clinched soon to end the trade war. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said there are still significant issues unresolved, but a key enforcement mechanism is “close to done.” Data from the Chinese economy overnight which showed further weakening in the outlook may give the U.S. leverage.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan Index dropped 0.4 percent on weak China data, with markets in Tokyo remaining closed as Emperor Akihito formally abdicated his throne. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.2 percent lower at 5:45 a.m. Eastern Time, with banks and miners leading the declines. S&P futures pointed to an uneventful open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.529 percent and gold was higher.
Oil halts decline
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih added his voice to OPEC members pushing back against President Donald Trump’s call to increase production, saying that Saudi Arabia and its partners remain focused on reducing inventories. His comments come as the IMF published an estimate that said the kingdom needs oil prices close to $85 a barrel to balance its budget. West Texas Intermediate for June delivery was trading 1 percent higher at $64.13 a barrel by 5:45 a.m.