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Trump reportedly tried to end the Flynn investigation, U.S. dollar sinks to lowest level since the election, and Indian stocks rise to fresh records. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.
‘Let This Go’
U.S. President Donald Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to end the investigation into Michael Flynn, the now ex-national security adviser who was fired in early February, according to a person who was given a copy of a memo that Comey wrote following his conversation with the president. Trump reportedly told Comey, “I hope you can let this go.” The latest bombshell adds to the turmoil swirling around the Oval Office. Trump earlier tweeted that he had an “absolute right"” to share information with Russian officials following reports that he revealed highly classified intelligence during a meeting last week. Current National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster called Trump’s discussion with two senior Russian officials, which reportedly concerned details about an Islamic State plot, “wholly appropriate.” There are signs that the goings-on at the White House are starting to grate on even top Republicans, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying that he’d like to see “less drama” from the Trump administration.
Not So Greenback
It looks like the greenback did run into that prophesied wall. Concerns that political turmoil would diminish the prospect for pro-growth fiscal policies pushed the euro more than 1 percent higher versus the world’s reserve currency. The Bloomberg Dollar spot index fell as much as 0.65 percent to hit its lowest levels since Nov. 8—election day in the U.S. This marked the fifth straight session of declines for the index as the U.S. dollar fell against every other G10 currency on Tuesday. While long greenback bets had long been the world’s most popular trade, fund managers surveyed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch now judge a bullish stance on the Nasdaq Composite Index to be the new most-crowded position.
New Highs in Mumbai
Benchmark Indian stock indexes soared to fresh records on a brightening earnings outlook, particularly for exporting firms. Meanwhile, Chinese stocks rallied in the afternoon to pull themselves out of the red on Tuesday amid suspicion that policymakers intervened to arrest declines. Nikkei 225 futures are pointing to a lower open as the yen strengthens, while S&P/ASX 200 futures are virtually unchanged as of 6 a.m. Tokyo time.
The S&P 500 Index edged lower from all-time highs with nine of 11 sectors retreating following earnings reports from clothing retailers that continue to disappoint. Despite the dearth of volatility across asset classes, a lingering feeling of unease has prompted retail investors to flood into low-volatility equity exchange-traded funds. West Texas Intermediate futures slid in the afternoon to trade down 1.3 percent on the day as of 6 a.m. in Tokyo.
Japanese machine orders are expected to rise 2.5 percent month-on month in March, with the final reading of industrial production for the month also on Wednesday's data calendar. Australia’s Westpac Consumer Confidence Index for May, slated for release at 9:30 a.m. Tokyo time, will look to rebound from a dip in its prior reading. Also due out: inflation data from Malaysia, forecast to moderate to an annual rate of 4.5 percent from 5.1 percent in March.
What we’ve been reading
This is what caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
Chinese e-commerce giants to see sales growth in excess of 40 percent.
Remember credit default swaps? Here’s a new way to bet against U.S. housing.
China’s Manhattan no longer a ghost town.
The Wall Street dealmaker who’s betting on battered retail.
Deflationary olds are hoarding cash out of fear.
Indian twins with links to Gandhi become billionaires.
The best dates at the Robin Hood charitable benefit.