By Lorcan Roche Kelly
Today’s monetary policy decision from the European Central Bank may be an unusual mid-summer one, as policymakers might actually decide to change something. While some economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect a rate cut to be announced at 7:45 a.m. Eastern Time this morning, the majority think the bank will signal a cut at its September meeting. The bond market is certainly expecting the ECB to deliver more stimulus soon, while commercial banks in the euro area are becoming increasingly concerned that deeper negative rates will further squeeze profits. The decision today will be followed by a press conference with Mario Draghi 45 minutes later.
Facebook Inc. once again showed that it can keep growing, with second-quarter sales rising 28% — beating analyst projections. It seems to be a very different story at Tesla Inc. where the company reported a worse-than-expected loss, and announced the resignation of its chief technology officer. The carmaker’s stock dropped 11% in pre-market trading. Today’s earnings are sticking with the tech theme as Amazon.com Inc., Alphabet Inc. and Intel Corp. are among the companies announcing results.
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello resigned late yesterday, throwing the leadership of the hurricane-ravaged, bankrupt U.S. commonwealth into uncertainty. His exit comes after two weeks of protests fueled by accusations of corruption and profane text messages Rossello sent. The leadership of the island may now fall to the U.S. Congress-created Financial Oversight and Management Board that was put in place to supervise Puerto Rico’s budgets.
Overnight the MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.2% while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.2% higher despite a dismal earnings report from Nissan Motor Co. In Europe the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.3% higher at 5:45 a.m. as investors mostly sat on their hands ahead of today’s ECB decision. S&P 500 futures weren’t doing much at all, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.031% and gold was broadly unchanged.
One of the most interesting economic events today will be the decision from the Turkish central bank due at 7:00 a.m., as it will be the first since President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired the head of the bank. Economists are certain there will be a cut, but their estimates for how large ranges from 0.5 percentage points to a whopping 8 percentage points. Elsewhere, we get the latest weekly jobless claims data for the U.S. at 8:30 a.m., with durable goods and wholesale inventories published at the same time.