Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day
Want to receive this post in your inbox every morning? Sign up here.
Yellen's slated to take questions, the CEO of Barclays tried to unmask a whistle-blower, and the French election is now a four-way race. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.
At 4:00 p.m Eastern Time Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will speak at the University of Michigan, with the event including a session where she will take questions from the audience and via Twitter. At an event in New York on Friday, Fed Vice-Chairman William Dudley downplayed the length of any pause in short-term rate normalization after the Fed starts shrinking its balance sheet. With Friday's jobs data showing unemployment at the lowest level in almost 10 years, the Fed may tighten faster -- or just lower their estimate for the level at which low unemployment becomes inflationary.
Barclays CEO probed
Barclays Plc Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley is being investigated by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority over his attempts to unmask a whistle-blower last year. The board of the bank said he will be reprimanded and have his pay cut as part of a case which is also under scrutiny by the Department of Financial Services in New York. Shares in the lender had recovered earlier losses to trade broadly unchanged by 5:33 a.m. Also in London, the BBC is reporting that the Bank of England pressed banks to lower their settings for the London interbank offered rate during the 2008 financial crisis.
Reassessing French election
The French presidential election is becoming a four-way race as support for Communist-backed candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon surges. Investors who were banking on centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron winning the vote are now reassessing the situation where a second-round run off between far-right Marine Le Pen and far-left Melenchon is a possibility. The spread between French and German debt widened to the highest since February while a gauge of euro volatility surged.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell less than 0.1 percent, while Japan's Topix index closed 0.7 percent higher as the yen weakened. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.2 percent lower at 5:50 a.m. with miners posting the best performance. U.S. futures pointed to a drop at the open.
Iron ore slump
Iron ore dropped into bear-market territory, with Barclays analysts pinning the blame on lower demand from China. For miner BHP Billiton Ltd., such price problems are being overshadowed by investor Elliott Management Corp., which is urging the company to spin off its U.S. oil assets and improve capital returns. Also watching iron developments will be Wilbur Ross’s former investment company WL Ross & Co., which said it will help lead a joint venture to acquire steel assets in China.
What we've been reading
This is what's caught our eye over the weekend.
- Odd Lots: Inside the hidden cycles that rule markets, history and everyday life.
- The foreign threat to U.S. Treasuries that dwarfs the Fed's debt hoard.
- How to beat the currency market? Just get on Twitter, academics say.
- Why South Korea's markets are still being rattled by Syria.
- Bigger is better when it comes to European stocks, KKR says.
- What do you do with half a million rigged VWs?
- A masterclass in spotting nonsense on the internet.
An Asia edition of Five Things is launching soon. Sign up here to be among the first to start getting it delivered to your inbox.