By Lorcan Roche Kelly
Fading trade hopes
Markets are still in thrall to the whims of President Donald Trump’s latest trade threats. Yesterday’s rally was driven by optimism following comments made by the president at the G-7 meeting, where he said that China called looking for a deal. That hope is fading today as it is becoming increasingly unclear whether any call from China happened over the weekend at all. The one deal that seemed secure came under doubt, with Japan insisting it wanted the U.S. to end the threat of new tariffs on autos before finalizing an agreement.
The risk of snap elections in Italy is rising this morning as talks between the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and center-left Democratic Party do not seem to be going well. Both sides have until tomorrow evening to show President Sergio Mattarella that they have a solid parliamentary majority and have agreed a program for government for the next four years. Elsewhere in Europe, the second reading of German second-quarter GDP showed that a collapse in exports is weighing enough on the country’s economy to push it to the brink of recession.
Johnson & Johnson shares rose as much as 5.4% in the immediate aftermath of an Oklahoma judge making a substantially smaller award against the company over the opioid crisis than had been feared by investors. While the state won only $572 million of the $17.5 billion it had sought in damages from the company for duping doctors into overprescribing its opioid-based medications, that the case was won at all risks creating a precedent for drugmakers across the country facing billions of dollars in claims. Johnson & Johnson shares gave up much of their earlier gains to trade 1.9% higher in the pre-market session.
Overnight the MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.5% while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.8% higher, with the gauge closing well below session highs as trade optimism faded. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index had gained 0.1% by 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time with investors remaining wary as they await the next China-U.S. development. S&P 500 futures pointed to little change at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 1.506% and gold was slightly higher.
At 9:00 a.m. the U.S. June FHFA house price index is expected to show 0.2% growth in the month. Consumer confidence and the Richmond Fed manufacturing index are released at 10:00 a.m. The Treasury Department will sell $40 billion in two-year notes at 1:00 p.m. Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. and the Bank of Nova Scotia are among companies reporting earnings today.