Financial Markets – Top 5 Things to Watch This Week

◊ Financial Market News Today ◊

Here’s what you need to know to start your week.

1. Central Banks In Focus

On Wednesday the Fed is to publish the minutes from its October meeting, when it indicated that its easing plans were now on hold after three consecutive rate cuts. The U.S. central bank has described the rate cuts as an insurance policy against the drag from slowing global growth and trade uncertainty.

The minutes come after Fed Chair Jerome Powell testified before congressional committees last week, reiterating that the Fed is done with easing for now. Meanwhile, New York Fed President John Williams, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari are all due to speak this week, with investors on the lookout for additional policy insights against a background of ongoing trade uncertainty.

On Thursday, the European Central Bank will publish the minutes of its most recent meeting, the last under the leadership of Mario Draghi and newly minted ECB President Christine Lagarde will give a speech on Friday.

2. Trade Developments

Stocks bounced on Friday, with the Dow reaching 28,000 for the first time ever, after White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said China and the U.S. were getting close to an agreement about ending their 16-month trade war, which has roiled financial markets and acted as a drag on global growth.

Chinese state media Xinhua reported Sunday that the two sides had “constructive talks” on trade in a high-level phone call on Saturday but gave no further details on the timing of a possible deal.


An agreement had appeared likely in May, but those prospects were dashed after U.S. negotiators said China backed away from the text of a draft agreement. Concerns flared again last week amid reports that the trade talks had hit a snag.

3. Economic Data

Investors will be looking ahead to flash PMI’s from Japan, the Eurozone and the U.S. on Friday, numbers widely regarded as a forward-looking indicator of economic health. October PMIs pointed to some stabilization, raising expectations that hefty central bank easing had helped the global economy to bottom out.

On Thursday, the U.S. is due to release existing home sales data along with numbers on initial and continuing jobless claims. Financial stability reviews from the ECB and the Bundesbank are also due this week.

4. Retail Earnings

Home Depot (NYSE:HD), Kohl’s (NYSE:KSS), Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN), Target (NYSE:TGT), Macy’s (NYSE:M) and Gap (NYSE:GPS) are among the chains reporting this week as third quarter earnings season winds up. Based on results from 458 S&P 500 companies that have reported, earnings are down 0.4% from Q3 2018, Refinitiv data shows.

The big stores, plus online behemoth Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), are a key indicator of whether the U.S. consumer — representing more than 70% of the economy– is still spending, even as manufacturing struggles and job growth plateaus. It’s particularly important heading into the make-or-break, year-end shopping stretch.

Amazon’s weak holiday quarter guidance last month fed worries that the trade spat is hurting the U.S. retail industry.

5. Alibaba To Price Stock Before Hong Kong Listing

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) Group is expected to set the offer price for its secondary listing in Hong Kong on Tuesday, after U.S. markets close, which is expected to raise up to $13.4 billion to fund its expansion plans.

Analysts say establishing a base outside the U.S. gives the U.S.-listed company options, especially in the light of the U.S.-China trade dispute. The share sale, set to be Hong Kong’s largest in more than nine years, will be seen as a vote of confidence in the global financial hub even as protests grow increasingly violent.

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Alibaba holds the record for the world’s biggest initial public offering, with its $25 billion New York listing in 2014. Meanwhile, Saudi Aramco on Sunday set a price range for its upcoming listing, valuing the oil giant between $1.6 trillion and $1.7 trillion, making it potentially the world’s biggest IPO.



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