Equities Move Higher, The Pound Breaks Out, Still No Phase One Trade Deal

Rebound continues as hope for the Phase 1 trade deal lingers. China is silent on progress but confirms talks continue.
Thomas Hughes
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses a press conference during an European Union Summit at European Union Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on Oct. 17, 2019.

The U.S. Markets Are Up In Early Thursday Trading

The U.S. index futures are pointing to a mildly higher open at the start of trading on Thursday. The move is driven by lingering hope the Phase One Trade Deal will be reached soon. Conflicting news over the past few days has induced volatility into the market. If the deal is not reached soon, or fails to impress investors, the equity market could resume its slide. In trade news, reports from sources close to the talks say a deal is getting closer. China is silent about the revelation which many indicate truth to the story. Today’s action is lead by the NASDAQ Composite with a gain of 0.42%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 are both up about 0.25%.

Today’s economic calendar included a record-setting low for initial claims and other positive data from the labor market. Initial claims fell to 203,000 and set a new 50-year low. The caveat is that seasonal hiring and the census may have skewed the data. Nevertheless, the jobless claims are backed up by the Challenger report which shows a decline in layoffs from the last month. Traders are no on alert for the NFP report which is slated for tomorrow. The ADP suggests weakness in the labor market the NFP may not confirm.

The EU Indices Are Mixed; Data, Trade, Politics Weigh On Sentiment

The EU markets are mixed at midday on Thursday as data, trade news, and politics weigh on sentiment. The French CAC is the only major market to advance, it’s up 0.60%, while the DAX and FTSE are down about -0.30%. On the data front, EU GDP came in at 0.2% for the quarter. This is enough to keep the EU out of recession but is unchanged from the previous quarter.

In the UK, the pound is breaking out to new highs as confidence grows Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party will emerge victorious next week. If the UK can avoid a hung-parliament the Brexit can move forward in January. In stock news, shares of Moncler are up nearly 10% after word got out Kering was interested in acquiring the brand. At the other end of the spectrum, shares of Ryanair are down after the airline cut its passenger traffic forecast.

Asia Moves Higher, Australia Leads

Asian markets are mostly higher at the end of the day on Thursday with Australia in the lead. The ASX was bolstered by steady retail data and advanced 1.16%. The Nikkei, Shanghai Composite, and Hang Seng all gained in today’s session but their advances were limited to the range of 0.59% to 0.74%. Elsewhere in the region, the Reserve Bank of India held its rates unchanged in a move largely unexpected by traders.

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