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The Tuesday Market Minute

  • Global stocks ease from multi-month highs amid heightened geo-political risks in the Asia region and new developments in Britain's complex Brexit saga.
  • President Donald Trump heads to Vietnam for a summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un aimed at regional denuclearization.
  • Pound trades at four-week high amid multiple reports that Prime Minister Theresa May is prepared to delay Britain's March 29 Brexit deadline.
  • Global oil prices extend declines, following yesterday's 3%-plus declines triggered by Trump's OPEC criticism.
  • U.S. equity futures suggest modest declines on Wall Street ahead of Senate testimony from Jerome Powell and earnings from Home Depot, Macy's and Discovery Communications.

Market Snapshot

Global stocks pulled away from multi-month highs Tuesday amid a series of geo-political risks that trimmed risked appetite in the Asia region and could ripple into the U.S. trading session ahead of key housing data and Senate testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

President Donald Trump heads to Vietnam later today for a Wednesday summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi in which the two men will attempt to solidify terms of their 2018 meeting in Singapore aimed and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Trump told reporters in Washington Monday before heading to the region, however, that his trade team was "very close" to cutting a deal with China following weeks of negotiations between Washington and Beijing, adding it "could happen fairly soon, or it might not happen at all".

The President's non-committal stance on trade talk progress, despite his decision to extend a March 1 deadline on tariffs, pulled Asia stocks from their recent five-month highs and allowed U.S. equity futures to trade lower in early European hours.

Markets were also unsettled by news of a air strike by Indian jets into Pakistan, the first such incursion in three years, following a suicide bomb in the Pulwama District of the disputed region of Kashmir that killed 40 Indian military policemen.

The MSCI Asia ex-Japan index, the broadest measure of regional share prices, was marked 0.54% lower heading into the final hour of trading while the Nikkei 225 slipped 0.37% to end the session at 21,449.39 points.

U.S. equity futures suggest a modest pullback on Wall Street Tuesday ahead of Senate testimony from Fed Chairman Powell and earnings from Home Depot (HD) , Macy's (M) and Discovery Communications (DISCK) . Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average suggest a 60 point decline while those linked to the broader S&P 500 indicate 5.8 point retreat.

Tesla Inc. (TSLA) were a notable early market mover, falling more than 3.5% in pre-market trading Tuesday after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission asked a Federal court to hold founder and CEO Elon Musk in contempt for violating an earlier agreement on his use of social media.

Caterpillar (CAT) shares were also weaker and indicated lower 3% lower after the investment bank UBS cut its rating on the industrial equipment maker and cautioned that revenue and earnings forecasts will be pressured in a slowing global economy.

European stocks drifted lower at the start of trading in Frankfurt, with the Stoxx 600 falling around 0.22% by mid-morning in Frankfurt and Britain's FTSE 100 giving back 1.2% on the back of a much stronger pound sterling.

The U.S. dollar continued to give ground to its currency peers in overnight trading, falling to 96.38 as both the euro and the pound notched solid gains.

Sterling, in fact, traded at a four-week high of 1.3213 against the greenback amid multiple reports that Prime Minister Theresa May is preparing to allow for a delay to Britain's March 29 Brexit deadline in order to have more time to convince both European Union leaders, and her own recalcitrant lawmakers, to support her rejected exit deal.

Global oil prices were posted modest gains in early European trading, following yesterday's 3% decline -- the biggest of the year -- that was largely triggered by President Trump's that cautioned on the impact of higher crude on a fragile world economy and urged OPEC leaders to "relax and take it easy".

Brent crude contracts for April delivery, the global benchmark, were marked 43 cents higher from their Monday close in New York and changing hands at $65.7 per barrel while WTI contracts for the same month were seen 9 cents higher at $55.57 per barrel.