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The FTSE 100 is called to open 33 points higher at 7092. Stocks in Asia tracked a strong U.S. session after earnings handed investors a welcome distraction from rising yields and trade tensions. The dollar ticked higher and Treasuries were steady. Japanese, Chinese and Australian shares rose, helping lift the MSCI Asia Pacific Index of shares, which last week touched its lowest since May 2017. Chinese shares fluctuateds. Earnings cheer continued after the U.S. close, with profit at Netflix Inc. trouncing estimates. Ten-year Treasury yields traded around 3.16 percent. Oil edged higher amid simmering tensions between the Saudi Arabia and the U.S. over the disappearance of a prominent journalist. Hong Kong markets shut for a holiday Wednesday. Better results at the start of earnings season from the likes of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Johnson & Johnson and Netflix offered investors some breathing space from worries about the jump in benchmark Treasury yields to seven-year highs. Minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting should offer more clues Wednesday on the outlook for policy tightening into next year. Also helping sentiment this week was a budget agreement in Italy.
Global equity markets have come under pressure in the last week or so, reminding investors of the sharp, albeit short-lived, correction we saw in the early part of this year.
It may not seem like it but markets are in a holding pattern at the moment as the tectonic plates of change grind ever onwards. This week’s Diary focuses on what the short term traders are up to, snippets of information from the inside pages and the challenges of being in business.
Volatility in the technology sector has grabbed people’s attention, but to understand what’s going on, you need to break down the sector and look at it from the bottom up.
Strong global growth, particularly in the US, subdued inflation and accommodative monetary policy remain a supportive backdrop for risk assets. However, over the summer growth momentum has eased - which is characteristic of a maturing economic cycle - and global trade tensions, the stalled Brexit negotiations and political instability in Europe and the US have resulted in higher volatility in most asset classes.
Surveys and hard data show the global economy growing at a healthy pace with minimal inflation risk. Activity accelerated in Q2 and our expectation of 3.4% GDP growth – marginally higher than last year – should be achieved in 2018. Although stronger US growth will continue, the OECD composite leading indicator suggests the global cycle has peaked, partly explaining why financial markets have become more sensitive to interest rate “normalisation” and the scaling back of ultra-accommodative policies, as well escalating trade tensions and a 20% rise in Brent crude to around $80 a barrel.
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