By Sam Unsted and Celeste Perri
U.S. lawmakers voted to move to the public phase of the inquiry targeting President Donald Trump, putting him on a path towards becoming only the third president to be impeached. The House voted almost entirely along party lines and all Republicans voted nay, indicating that while Trump’s presidency is on its most treacherous ground yet, getting the Republican-controlled Senate to ultimately back removing him from office should he face trial there is going to be a very tall order. There’s a long way to go yet, but the partisanship and rancor was on full display and there’s no reason to think that’ll ease as the inquiry progresses.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn set out his stall for the U.K.’s election on Thursday, detailing plans for re-nationalization, attacking the “elite” and railing against Prime Minister Boris Johnson with claims the National Health Service will be fair game for U.S. companies in a trade deal Trump says will be tough to get done. On Friday, Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party will get its campaign started and the question will be whether they will field candidates everywhere or, in an attempt to strengthen Johnson and the Tories, they will step back to consolidate the Brexiteer vote with the Conservatives.
Christine Lagarde starts her new gig atop the European Central Bank with a predictably long list of challenges to face and she’ll be the only woman in the room for the first few weeks. The tools she has at her disposal to implement effective monetary policy, in particular negative rates, may be falling out of favor before she’s even had the chance to get her feet under the desk and fellow policymakers are already warning about the side effects of the strategy the bank is pursuing. All in all, she’s going to have a tough job on her hands to boost the euro.
The U.S. and China are still seeking a new place to sign the first phase of the trade deal the pair are working towards, which Trump says remains entirely on track and which China cast doubt upon on Thursday. Any further, more concrete doubts arising that this first phase will get signed may well take the wind out of stock markets, so watch for anything further on that front. Those doubts, plus rising output from Saudi Arabia and swelling American crude stockpiles, has put oil on track for its biggest weekly drop in a month.
Asian stocks were mixed on Friday and European futures are pointing to slightly higher open after a fall on Thursday, with markets digesting the latest on trade, better-than-expected Chinese manufacturing data and with the jobs report ahead in the U.S. Manufacturing data is due for both the U.K. and the U.S. later and it’s a much quieter earnings day, topped by two Danish names in insulin maker Novo Nordisk A/S and lender Danske Bank A/S.