May 1, 2019, by Lorcan Roche Kelly and Sid Verma
Today’s interest-rate decision from the Federal Reserve is expected to be something of a non-event, with the Federal Open Market Committee all but certain to hold policy unchanged and restate its mantra to be patient in the statement at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. There will be no updated forecasts today. Chair Jerome Powell’s policy of having a press conference after every meeting will be worth watching 30 minutes after the decision as he will most likely be asked to respond to President Donald Trump’s call for a “one point” cut in benchmark rates.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday that U.S. negotiators were “looking forward to productive discussions” with China at the latest round of trade talks in Beijing. After those talks wrapped up today, he sent a tweet dubbing the meetings indeed “productive.” Next week China’s Vice Premier Liu He will come to Washington for further talks, with Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s acting chief of staff, saying that the U.S. is still prepared to walk away if there is not enough progress in the coming weeks.
Whatever people decide to call yesterday’s attempt by Juan Guaido, Venezuela’s National Assembly leader, to overthrow the Maduro regime one thing is clear: so far it’s not-a-success. Guaido’s failure to win over the military meant the attempt to seize power was almost over before it began. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that Maduro had planned to flee the country before his Russian allies convinced him to stay. President Trump blamed Cuba for supporting the regime and threatened a “full and complete embargo…on the island of Cuba.”
Markets mostly closed
Much of Asia and European equity markets are closed today for May 1 holidays. London’s FTSE 100 Index is open, and was broadly unchanged by 5:50 a.m., giving up earlier gains after weaker-than-expected lending data from the Bank of England. S&P 500 futures pointed to a higher open in the wake of Apple Inc.’s earnings. The 10-year Treasury yield was steady at 2.504 percent ahead of the Fed decision and gold was slightly lower.
ADP employment data is due at 8:15 a.m., with Markit’s final manufacturing PMI for April at 9:45 a.m. ISM manufacturing, employment, prices paid and new orders all drop at 10:00 a.m., with construction spending at the same time. Vehicle sales numbers are due throughout the morning. In earnings, Qualcomm Inc., CVS Health Corp. and Fitbit Inc. are among the long list of companies reporting. Attorney General William Barr is poised to testify before the Senate.