May 9, 2019, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
President Donald Trump declared that Beijing had “broke the deal” the U.S. was negotiating with the world’s second-largest economy. A Chinese spokesperson disputed the president’s characterization of events, saying that the country “honors its word.” A delegation from the Asian nation led by top negotiator Liu He is in Washington today for talks. Investors are not waiting for the result before deciding on their next move, with foreigners dumping China’s stocks this week as Citigroup Inc. warned the threatened increase of tariffs would cut at least a 0.5 percentage point off growth in the country over one to two years.
Europe says no
Iran’s threat to Europe on abandoning some of the terms of the 2015 nuclear accord was met with a cold response from European leaders this morning who said they reject any ultimatums. While EU leaders cited the need for more talks, they are in the thankless position of jawboning both Iran and the U.S. to take efforts to reduce tensions. It all looks unlikely for now after the White House issued an executive order banning the purchase of Iranian metal exports.
Uber at a bad time
The most-anticipated initial public offering of the year will price after the bell today, with ride-sharing giant Uber Technologies Inc. expected to look at something close to the middle of the marketing range, despite the offer being three-times oversubscribed. Coming just a day after a drivers’ strike, and amid what can only be described as challenging market conditions, the debut of the highly valued U.S. startup will be watched with unusual intensity.
Markets fall again
For equity investors all that matters right now is the trade talks, and the heated rhetoric is doing nothing to help already nervous markets. Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 1.4% while Japan’s Topix index closed 1.4% lower, with automakers weighing most heavily on the gauge. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was down 0.8% at 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time, with autos, banks and miners the worst performers. S&P 500 futures pointed to more losses at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.451% and gold was higher.
There is a bit of a data dump at 8:30 a.m. with initial jobless claims, April PPI and the trade balance for March all published. Wholesale inventories numbers are due at 10:00 a.m. Fed Chair Jerome Powell, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic and Chicago Fed President Charles Evans all speak today. The Treasury auction of 30-year bonds at 1:00 p.m. will be closely watched after yesterday’s 10-year auction saw the weakest demand in a decade. There are rate decisions in Chile and Peru later in the day.