Asian Markets Move Broadly Higher On Brexit Hopes
Asia, led by China, moved broadly higher in Thursday trading, extending a bounce that began earlier in the wee. The Hong Kong-based Heng Seng led advancing indices with a gain of 1.75% followed by a 1.36% gain for the Shang Hai Composite. The Korean Kospi advanced nearly 1.0% on word a draft-Brexit had been written while the Australian ASX and Japanese Nikkei closed closer to break-even. The Japanese Nikkei was Thursday’s laggard posting a loss near -0.20%.
China’s equity markets were also supported by word the Chinese government had sent a written response to Washington’s demands. The details of the letter are not yet known but the sentiment is positive in light of the recently reduced tension between the US and China. Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump are slated to meet at the G-20 Summit in order to discuss improving trade relations.
EU, UK Down On Brexit Resignations
The UK and EU markets were initially higher on easing fear a hard-Brexit was inevitable. Those fears came back to the forefront soon after the open and reduced gains to near 0.25% for the FTSE 100 and Xetra DAX by midmorning. The CAC was the laggard posting mid-morning a loss of -0.20%.
In the UK, tensions over the draft-Brexit have split Theresa May’s parliament resulting in the resignations of several key members including the Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab. Raab says he can not support the current Brexit plan in light of promises made to the British people by ruling party members before the referendum was taken. The Brexit news had a negative impact on the pound. The GBP/USD and EUR/GBP both shed nearly -1.50% on the news.
US Markets Brace For Data, Dollar Moves Higher
The US futures market was indicating a positive open for equity indices in the early hours of the morning. Traders wary of geopolitical events were focused on a raft of economic data that produced a mixed bag of results. After the 8:30 AM data deluge futures pared their gains to indicate an open near break-even.
Retail sales figures came in hotter than expected at 0.80%. This is 0.3% hotter than expected and points to continued strength in the consumer. On the manufacturing front, the Philly Fed’s MBOS fell nearly 10 points to 12.9, far below expectations, on weakness in New Orders. The Empire State Manufacturing Survey counterbalanced MBOS by advancing 2.0 points to 23.3 in evidence of expanding activity in the New York Federal Reserve District.
Earnings reported released before the open on Thursday were good but did not spark a rally in equities. Both WalMart and Cisco reported top and bottom line results that beat the analyst’s consensus and provided a positive outlook. Walmart rallied a little more than 1.0% on the news while Cisco advanced a more robust 4.0%. NVIDIA tops the list of companies reporting earnings after the bell on Thursday. The company is expected to post YOY gains but the result may be negatively impacted by weak sales of cryptocurrency mining chips.