By Yakob Peterseil
The European Union is considering how long to delay the U.K.’s departure from the bloc, but Boris Johnson’s bid for a snap general election is complicating matters. The British Prime Minister needs two-thirds of members of Parliament to back his plan, but his main political rival, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, said Thursday he wants to see if the EU offers the extension before he decides. Unfortunately, in a twist Joseph Heller himself would be proud of, the EU is said to be waiting for clarity from the U.K. before it makes its own decision. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid said it’s now impossible for the government to meet the current Oct. 31 deadline.
Amazon.com Inc. cast a pall over earnings season as the effort to get packages from warehouse to doorstep in a single day led to its first year-over-year quarterly profit decline since 2017. Results elsewhere were mixed. Third-quarter income jumped at Barclays Plc, but Anheuser-Busch InBev NV blamed a drop in beer shipments in China and the U.S. as profit growth stumbled. Companies reporting today include Verizon Communications Inc., Nielsen Holdings Plc, Charter Communications Inc. and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
As the presidential impeachment inquiry drags on, the U.S. Justice Department is said to have opened a criminal investigation into whether Donald Trump or his 2016 campaign was illegally spied upon. The president has long alleged that the investigation into Russian interference in the election was politically motivated. On another front, Trump also moved to shield his financial records from Congress. The president’s lawyers asked a federal appeals court to reconsider a ruling upholding a subpoena ordering his accountants to provide the documents to lawmakers.
Overnight the MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.3% higher as the outlook for chipmakers was seen to be improving. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was down 0.3% at 6:00 a.m. Eastern Time with investors weighing mixed earnings. S&P 500 futures pointed to a slightly higher open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 1.771% and gold nudged up.
The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index at 10:00 a.m. is expected to hold close to last month’s level. At 1:00 p.m., the Baker Hughes rig count is due, while the U.S. Treasury gives its federal budget debt summary at 2:00 p.m. The ECB’s Francois Villeroy de Galhau speaks in Paris at 10:30 a.m.