By Lorcan Roche Kelly
President Donald Trump reiterated that he could add more tariffs to Chinese imports if he wants. His comments hit stocks in the U.S. yesterday, a sentiment that continued into Asia trading. China responded by saying further levies would complicate negotiations which are just starting to get back on track. Speaking of trade spats, the increasing tension between Japan and South Koreashows no sign of easing ahead of a deadline for agreement on tech exports.
The perennial problem that is the U.S. debt limit is oozing its way back onto the agenda. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that under one of the Treasury Department’s scenarios, the country will be at risk of defaulting on payment obligations in early September. With Congress due to start its recess on July 26 and not return until mid-September, there is some pressure to agree a way forward in the coming weeks. Mnuchin is in Paris for a meeting of G-7 finance chiefs where the French are busy pushing for agreement on a digital tax on tech giant profits.
The story of the second-quarter for America’s biggest banks so far has been… Meh. It’s Bank of America’s turn under the spotlight this morning, with analysts forecasting that the lender’s wealth management business may prove a bright spot. Away from Wall Street, Netflix Inc. reports after the bell with expectations low after the company hiked prices. EBay Inc. also announces earnings today.
Overnight the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.2% while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.1% lower on continuing trade worries. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.1% higher at 5:45 a.m. as not very much continued to happen. S&P 500 futures reflected the same mood as they pointed vaguely higher, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.101% and gold was holding at about $1,400 an ounce.
Those looking for excitement later may be in for a disappointment as the slate is fairly bare, with only June housing starts and building permits data at 8:30 a.m. and the Fed’s Beige Book at 2:00 p.m. The one place there may be some action is in the oil market which had something of a selloff yesterday in the wake of hints of a possible start to talks between Iran and the U.S. Today’s inventories data, due at 10:30 a.m. may give crude some support.