By Sam Unsted
The meeting held between the chief negotiators on either side of Brexit was among the most difficult encounters held in the past three years, according to European officials. The European Union is reportedly weighing up concessions it could offer to the U.K. to prevent a no-deal Brexit but there is reportedly concern that the U.K. is attempting to bully the EU into providing those breaks, a feeling unlikely to make the talks any easier going forward. All that while the pound is at the weakest level ever for this time of year and, if history is anything to go by, it’s going to get worse in August.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he and the U.S. trade chief Robert Lighthizer may travel to Beijing to hold trade negotiations should the talks held over the phone this week prove productive, setting up a new development for markets to watch as the week progresses. On the trade front with the EU, however, it is expected the World Trade Organization will give the U.S. the green light to slap new tariffs on Europe in the ongoing battle about illegal aircraft subsidies.
Cryptocurrencies got hammered on Monday following criticism of the asset by President Donald Trump last week but also as further scrutiny is drawn around Facebook Inc.’s planned Libra cryptocurrency. The social media giant has said it won’t launch Libra until the concerns of regulators are fully addressed. That may not be much of a choice given the one unifying factor in American politics right now is disdain for Libra, which at least one analyst puts down to a bad PR strategy. Even Treasury Secretary Mnuchin says he’s very concerned.
Citigroup Inc. got the bank earnings season started on Monday with a mixed set of results, with trading looking somewhat soft but the bank boosted by a booming consumer business. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Inc. will keep the newsflow from the sector running today and should help to create a clearer picture of how investment banks fared in the second quarter before Bank of America Corp. and Morgan Stanley round off the week.
Asian stocks were mixed on relatively light volumes as investors search for a new catalyst to give the market some direction. European futures are pointing to a pretty muted open. We will have German investor confidence data later and the first salvo from the luxury goods sector with Burberry Group Plc’s update, which may help set the tone for reporting season in that sector and give an insight into the impact protests in Hong Kong have had.