Business Maverick

Thursday July 11: Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day

By Bloomberg 11 July 2019
Caption
US Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell holds a news conference after a Federal Open Market Committee meeting in Washington, DC, USA, 20 March 2019. The Federal Reserve is leaving interest rates unchanged. The federal funds rate has already been raised nine times since 2015. EPA-EFE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Jerome Powell signals a rate cut as a global chill outweighs good U.S. news. Asian equity futures are mostly higher after the S&P 500 hit all-time highs. And Australia’s stock rally is nearing a record high. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.

Fed Cut Cometh

Jerome Powell telegraphed his intention to lower borrowing costs as soon as this month, telling the House that risks from the trade war with China overshadow the healthy labor market. Asked if June’s stronger-than-expected jobs report had changed the central bank’s thinking, the chairman said: “A straight answer to your question is, no.” The Fed chief said also Donald Trump lacks the authority to fire him. When asked if he would leave if the president told him to, he said: “Of course I would not do that. My answer would be no.”

3,000

Asian equity futures are mostly higher after U.S. stocks hit all-time highs on Powell’s dovish comments. The S&P 500 briefly rose above 3,000 for the first time.  Treasuries were mixed, with 10-year yields dropping then recovering to hold at about 2.06%. The dollar lost ground against almost every major currency, and gold jumped more than 1%.

Silent War

Fishermen are on the front lines of Asia’s most complex territorial dispute: the South China Sea. Six claimants, as well as outside powers like the U.S., have an interest in protecting a waterway that carries more than $3 trillion in trade each year. China’s Coast Guard stepped up patrols in contested areas a few years back, with fishermen from countries like Vietnam and the Philippines reporting encounters with Chinese officials warning them off fishing in certain areas – sometimes with the aid of electric prods.

Convicted

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said it’s just seen the first-ever local criminal convictions for front-running prosecuted as an insider-trading offense. Leong Chee Wai, E. Seck Peng Simon and Toh Chew Leong received prison sentences of as long as 36 months. The seven-year scheme had yielded profits of S$8.1 million ($6 million), the regulator said.

Nearing a Record

Australia’s stock market could soon reach a new all-time high, with the S&P/ASX 200 just short of its record from 2007. The nation’s benchmark has surged 18% this year, adding about $210 billion in value despite a sluggish economy and a housing slump. Still, analysts are divided on where Aussie stocks will go. Citigroup and Morgan Stanley are cheering the surge, while Goldman Sachs looks elsewhere for gains.

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