Five Things Everyone Will Be Talking About Today

Time to get caught up.
Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Stocks start the quarter in the green, global survey indicators fail to excite and Japan goes shopping for junk. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.

Stocks are up

The first day of the fourth quarter has seen stocks trading higher, with the MSCI Asia Pacific Index adding 1.5 percent and Japan's Topix climbing 2.2 percent. Markets in China are closed for a week for National Day celebrations.  In Europe, the biggest losers in the last quarter are leading gains this morning, pushing the Stoxx Europe 600 1.1 percent higher at 10:30 a.m. London time. 

Survey indicators 

A raft of survey indicators came out overnight, but contained little to excite. Official Chinese PMI stabilized at 49.8 for September, with a separate gauge from Caixin and Markit Economics showing improvement from its initial reading, albeit at a lower level of 48.0. In Japan the Tankan index for large manufacturers fell to 12 in September, slightly below economist expectations of 13 in a survey conducted by Bloomberg. Manufacturing PMI for the euro-area fell to 52.0, in line with the preliminary reading. In the U.K. a similar survey showed a reading of 51.5, a drop for August's number, but ahead of economist expectations. 

Japan to buy junk

There may be some relief for junk bond investors, who have just posted their worst quarter in four years, as Japan's $1.2 trillion government pension fund makes sweeping changes to its foreign bond investments, including creating mandates for junk bond purchases. The fund is said to expect yields of 5 percent or more from buying bonds rated BB or lower, according to reports from the Nikkei newspaper.

Storm's (maybe) coming

Weather forecasters in the U.S. are tracking Hurricane Joaquin closely as it moves towards the Bahamas, with projections suggesting it may make landfall on the eastern seaboard this weekend. Joaquin is currently rated a category 3 hurricane, with additional strengthening expected in the coming days. In the meantime, some investors seem to be preparing for the Atlantic storm by buying home supply stocks.

Coming up...

It's a busy day for U.S. data ahead of tomorrow's jobs number. At 8:30 a.m. ET we get initial jobless claims followed by Markit manufacturing PMI and Bloomberg Consumer Comfort at 9:45 with ISM Manufacturing due at 10:00. Recent manufacturing data published by regional Federal Reserve banks has not looked so hot.

What we've been reading

This is what's caught our eye over the last 24 hours.

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