By Lorcan Roche Kelly
President Donald Trump said that he will announce guidelines today to ease the stay-at-home rules, saying that data suggests the U.S. has passed the peak of new cases. Yesterday the president had a marathon round of calls with business leaders from across the country who urged him to move forward on reopening the economy, while calling for a robust testing regime to be in place. One of the biggest problems Trump faces in his attempt to get the economy back to work is whether he actually has the power to do it, as he continues to hit against the limits of his authority over states and Congress.
While the peak of the outbreak may be near, for many Americans the economic pain is far from easing. Today’s initial jobless claims number at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time is expected to be another mammoth print with the median estimate from economists surveyed by Bloomberg for 5.5 million new claims, in a range of between 2 and 8 million. That median number would put the four week total at 22 million, wiping out all the jobs gains since the last recession.
Wall Street earnings
Morgan Stanley wraps up what has been an earnings season dominated by huge loss provisions on the one hand and a surge in trading revenue on the other for Wall Street’s biggest banks. Lenders that have already reported this week have seen their shares under pressure while management attempts to estimate the costs from the economic shutdown. Bank of New York Mellon Corp. also announces earnings today.
Global equity investors continue to walk the line between a hoped-for end to the coronavirus shutdown and the raft of terrible economic data showing the damage already done. Overnight the MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 1% while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.8% lower as the country seems set to extend the state of emergency nationwide. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.8% higher at 5:50 a.m. as traders were willing to take on some risk as they rotated out of defensive stocks. S&P 500 futures pointed to a gain at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 0.638% and gold was slightly higher.
As well as jobless claims, the April Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook and U.S. March housing starts and building permits are at 8:30 a.m. President Donald Trump takes part in a G-7 leaders’ teleconference this morning. All speaking at various events today: Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic, New York Fed President John Williams, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Tom Barkin, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly and Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard.