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May calls for early U.K. election, commodities crumble, and stocks slump as Goldman earnings disappoint. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.
A twist in the Brexit plot: British Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap election for June 8, three years ahead of schedule. The British pound was far and away the best major currency Tuesday, rising more than 2 percent versus the U.S. dollar. The weak position of the Conservative Party’s opponents, as reflected by public opinion polls, could give May the opportunity to pad her party’s majority in the House of Commons. An expanded Conservative bench, in turn, would increase the prime minister’s flexibility to negotiate with the European Union and reduce the risk of an exit without a deal in less than two years’ time.
It was a rough day for the commodity complex—especially metals. Bloomberg’s industrial metals index suffered its biggest decline since Nov. 29, falling 2.6 percent, as investors reassessed the demand outlook for materials such as iron ore, zinc, and nickel. Strategists at Citigroup Inc. see iron ore futures traded in Singapore falling into the $50s in 2018. Front-month West Texas Intermediate futures were also down, to boot—sinking 0.6 percent as of 5:55 a.m. Tokyo time.
The S&P 500 closed down 0.3 percent amid disappointing earnings from Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which was the second-largest drag on the index. With trading revenue that came up far short of analyst estimates, the bank’s shares suffered their biggest loss since the session immediately following the U.K. Brexit referendum. Healthcare and energy companies also weighed on benchmark U.S. indexes Tuesday. Treasuries gained, with the 10-year yield hitting its lowest levels since Nov. 11.
Trump Takes on Tech
On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing agencies to reform the H-1B visa program, which he claims is abused by companies who displace American workers with lower-paid foreign labor. Any changes would be sure to acutely affect tech firms. Ahead of the signing, applications had already dropped in anticipation of potential restrictions. The technology industry contends there aren’t enough qualified Americans to fill the available jobs.
Continued carnage in hard commodities is weighing on S&P/ASX 200 futures following Monday’s 1.1 percent decline for the index. Nikkei 225 futures are also pointing towards a lower open after Japanese equities eked out small gains in the opening session of the week.
What we’ve been reading
This is what caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
Goldman Sachs dumps its favored long-dollar trades.
Russia a migrant magnet.
iPhone overhaul coming.
IMF boosts global growth forecast—but protectionist threat looms.
Volkswagen takes on Tesla.
Fund flows reveal dimming enthusiasm for reflation trade.
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