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The Tuesday Market Minute

  • Global stocks mixed as stronger-than-expected U.S. and China factory data cloud the trade war impact on economies in other parts of the world.
  • European stocks edge higher as the single currency retreats following soft inflation data that likely leaves the ECB with few options beyond further easing in President Mario Draghi's final months in Frankfurt.
  • U.K. lawmakers failed to find consensus on Brexit alternatives last night, setting up the potential for a fourth vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement and a hard exit from the European Union on April 12.
  • U.S. equity futures suggest a modestly weaker open on Wall Street ahead of durable goods sales data for February at 8:30 am Eastern Time and second quarter earnings from Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Market Snapshot

Global stocks traded mixed Tuesday, with markets in Asia touching a seven month high as Wall Street futures sputtered, as investors balanced stronger-than-expected factory data from the world's biggest economies against increasing evidence that their ongoing trade war has damaged growth in other parts of the world.

Private readings of manufacturing activity in both the U.S. and China yesterday showed modest improvements for both of the world's factory powerhouses in March, with China rising into growth mode for the first time in four months and the U.S. bouncing from two-year lows. The upbeat assessments, however, clouded the fact that readings from other major economies, such as Germany and Japan, slumped to multi-year lows as countries without a seat at the negotiation table continue to suffer the affects of the U.S.-China trade war.

The contrast has lead to a mixed open for global assets prices Tuesday,with Japan's Nikkei 225 sliding modestly into the red by the close of trading as the broader MSCI Asia ex-Japan index added 0.19% to touch a seven-month high on hopes of both broader China stimulus and a near-term trade agreement with the United States.

U.S. equity futures, however, were more muted in early trading, with contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average suggesting a 10 point pullback from yesterday's solid 329 point gain, its best performance in more than two weeks, and those linked to the S&P 500 indicating a 1.5 point slip for the broader benchmark.

Investors will get another chance to gauge the health of the industrial economy today with durable goods orders for the month of February at 8:30 am eastern time, as well as a look at same store retail sales through the Johnson Redbook twenty five minutes later. 

Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA - Get Report) posted weaker-than-expected second quarter earnings and slashed its 2019 outlook, warning profits would be "roughly flat" from the previous year, sending shares 6.3% lower to $59.48 each in pre-market trading.

Bitcoin prices spiked higher Tuesday, briefly topping the $5,000 mark for the first time in nearly five months, in a move that has left market watchers bewildered by the mysterious surge.

Bitcoin jumped more than 20% in the span of a few minutes during Asia trading hours on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, taking prices for the world's best-know cryptocurrency nearly $950 higher from its opening price to trade at $5,080.00 each, the highest since November 19.

European stocks were little changed at the start of trading in Frankfurt, with the Stoxx 600 edging 0.28% into the green to extend the benchmark's year-to-date advance closer to 14% as the euro drifted below 1.12 against the U.S. dollar following yesterday's surprisingly soft inflation data for the currency area.

Britain's FTSE 100 was marked around 0.9% higher in the opening minutes of trading in London, helped in part by basic resource stocks and a weaker pound, which slipped to 1.3036 against the greenback after lawmakers failed for a second time to find a majority for any of the various Brexit alternatives under debate.

Last night's vote essentially means Parliament has rejected a no Deal Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit, a second Brexit referendum and a softer Brexit built around common ties with the European Union.

Global oil prices extended gains in overnight trading, taking both U.S. and international crude to fresh 2019 highs, as traders piled on more bullish bets in the wake the stronger-than-expected U.S. and China factory data as well as a Reuters report that suggested the U.S. would remove waivers issued to eight global economies next month that allow them to buy sanctioned Iranian crude exports.

Brent crude contracts for June delivery, the global benchmark for oil prices, were marked 9 cents higher from their Monday close in New York and changing hands at $69.10 per barrel in early European dealing while WTI contracts for May delivery were seen 37 cents higher at $61.96 per barrel.

U.S. gasoline prices were quoted at a national average of $2.67 per gallon on the Gasbuddy.com comparison website Tuesday, the highest since early November and a 20.2% increase since the start of the year.