By Lorcan Roche Kelly
Testimony from William Taylor, the top U.S. envoy to Ukraine, has given new impetus to an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. Taylor’s prepared statement threatens to shatter the repeated White House assertion that there was no “quid pro quo” offered to Ukraine, linking aid payments to an investigation of Trump’s political rivals. The testimony, which was met with vitriol from the White House, puts Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in an awkward position as he may have to back the envoy he picked for Ukraine over the president.
After winning the vote on his Brexit bill, but losing the one which would allow it to become law in time for the Oct. 31 deadline, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering another attempt to call a general election. The European Union is likely to grant an extension until Jan. 31, leaving time for the vote and giving Johnson a chance to secure a working majority in Parliament. The only thing that seems certain at the moment is the risk of a no-deal Brexit has dropped, something which allowed the pound to hold most of its recent gains.
WeWork’s $9.5 billion rescue package from SoftBank Group Corp. will see the Japanese conglomerate control 80% of the company and founder Adam Neumann leave the board. The fall from grace of the company, and its leader, has been remarkable. With management now weighing the dismissal of thousands of employees and facing a huge task just to meet the rent, the future for the company is likely to be very different from the Neumann era.
Overnight the MSCI Asia Pacific Index was unchanged while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.6% higher after a holiday. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.1% lower at 5:45 a.m. Eastern Time with defensive stocks outperforming as technology companies came under pressure. S&P 500 futures pointed to a quiet open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 1.741% and gold was higher.
Crude oil inventory data at 10:30 a.m. is expected to show stocks increased for a sixth week in a row, keeping the price of oil under pressure. Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg will take questions on the company’s plans for a new global cryptocurrency at a public hearing before the House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill. It’s another massive day for earnings, with Caterpillar Inc., Boeing Co., Tesla Inc., Microsoft Corp., PayPal Holdings Inc., eBay Inc. and Ford Motor Co. among the many companies reporting.