By Lorcan Roche Kelly
Not a single economist surveyed by Bloomberg expects the Federal Reserve to announce a change in interest rates at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time today. For investors the decision will be all about the outlook, with the Federal Open Market Committee updating its rate forecast through 2022. Chairman Jerome Powell will give a press conference at 2:30 p.m. where he is expected to maintain his recent upbeat tone economic expansion.
Saudi Aramco successfully became the world’s most valuable public company after raising $25.6 billion in its record IPO and jumping by the daily 10% limit when the stock started trading this morning, giving the oil producer a market valuation of $1.88 trillion. The decision to list on the Riyadh stock exchange pushed the regional bourse into the world’s top 10. There are a lot of unusual things about the IPO, not least of which is the tiny free-float that will give shareholders little or no say over how the company is run.
Party leaders in the U.K. are touring marginal constituencies on the final day of campaigning ahead of tomorrow’s election. A key poll released yesterday showed that while Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains on track for an overall majority, his lead is shrinking. The pound dropped after the survey was released. Anti-Brexit campaigners are putting their efforts into a tactical vote campaign in the hopes of stopping Johnson’s Conservative Party gaining a majority.
Equity investors are not making any big decisions as they wait for trade, monetary and political events to play out over the next few days. Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.3% while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.3% lower. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index had slid 0.2% by 5:50 a.m. in a fairly subdued session so far. S&P 500 futures pointed to a small loss at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 1.816% and gold was higher.
U.S. inflation is expected to have picked up to 2% in November, with the core reading remaining unchanged at 2.3% when the data is published at 8:30 a.m. The U.S. crude oil inventory report is released at 10:30 a.m. As well as the Fed decision at 2:00 p.m., the U.S. November budget statement is published. Among the companies reporting earnings today are Lululemon Athletica Inc., American Eagle Outfitters Inc. and United Natural Foods Inc.