The Thursday Market Minute

  • Global stocks book modest gains as signals of progress in U.S.-China trade talks offset ongoing political risks in Washington and London.
  • President Trump announces a preliminary trade agreement with Japan, opening the door to $7 billion in U.S. exports, but avoids any decision on auto tariffs.
  • Trump says trade deal with China could happen "sooner than you think" while Beijing notes "close contact" with U.S. ahead of next month's talks.#
  • European stocks gain on trade hopes, with investors eyeing political chaos in London as Brexit debate intensifies.
  • Oil prices edge higher following Trump's comments on China trade and a softer U.S. dollar, with gains capped by a 2.4 million build in domestic crude inventories.
  • Wall Street futures suggest modest opening bell gains for the Dow ahead of second quarter inflation data at 8:30 am Eastern time.

Market Snapshot

Wall Street futures traded higher Thursday, while global stocks booked modest gains in major economies around the world, as investors faded concerns linked to political risks on both sides of the Atlantic in favor of bets that next month's U.S.-China trade talks could provide a breakthrough.

Equity market gains were pared, however, by the House Intelligence Committee's release of the formal whistleblower complaint related to allegations that President Donald Trump sought assistance from Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate political rival Joe Biden. 

"I am deeply concerned that the actions described below constitute 'a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, or violation of law or executive order' that 'does not include differences of opinion concerning public policy matters,' consistent with the definition of an 'urgent concern', the whistleblower said.

Markets had booked earlier gains in overnight trading after Trump repeated his assertion that China is more in need of a broader trader agreement than the United States, telling reporters in New York yesterday that "because they're losing their jobs, because their supply chain is going to hell and companies are moving out of China and they're moving to lots of other places, including the United States." 

Trump said a trade deal could happen "sooner than you think",  with China's Commerce Ministry adding Thursday that it was preparing for next month's high-level talks in Beijing, and noted Chinese companies were ready to make "significant" purchases" of U.S. agricultural products.

With Trump announcing a smaller trade agreement with Japan -- one that for the moment avoids discussion of tariffs on cars imported into the United States -- and signalling a softer stance on China than in the past few weeks, investors felt comfortable adding to risk positions in overnight trading even as Bloomberg reported that the WTO was ready to allow the U.S. to apply tariffs on $8 billion worth of European-made goods linked to a ruling on illegal state aid to planemaker Airbus SE (EADSY) .

U.S. equity futures were marked modestly higher in European trading Thursday, with contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average indicating a 30 point advance following last night's 163 point gain and those linked to the S&P 500 suggesting a 0.5 point dip for the broader benchmark.

European stocks, meanwhile, booked solid early gains despite the uncertainty surrounding Airbus and a probe into money laundering allegations at Dutch banking giant ABN Amro NV  (ABNRY)

The Stoxx 600 Europe was marked 0.73% higher by mid-day of trading in Frankfurt, while German's DAX performance index added 0.51% on the U.S.-China trade optimism. In London, Britain's FTSE 100 rose 1.1% as the pound drifted to 1.2339 amid the ongoing Brexit-related chaos in U.K. Parliament.

Away from equities, the U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six global currencies, slipped from a two-week high to trade at 99.06 as risk appetite improved in markets around the world, while benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yields eased to 1.708%.

Global oil prices also edged higher in overnight trading, buoyed by both the modestly softer U.S. dollar and improving U.S.-China trade signals, although gains were ultimately reversed by a larger-than-expected 2.4 million barrel increase in domestic U.S. crude stocks last week and further reports that Saudi Arabia will quickly return to full output capacity following last week's attacks on two key oil facilities.

Brent crude contracts for November delivery were seen 56 cents lower from their Wednesday close in New York at $61.83 per barrel while WTI contracts for the same month were marked 58 cents lower at $55.91per barrel.