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U.S. Treasury yields post fresh 2017 lows, not everyone’s on board with North Korean sanctions, and U.S. stocks slump. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.
A search for safety as U.S. markets began the trading week and commentary from two of the most dovish Federal Reserve officials helped 10-year Treasury yields fall more than 10 basis points on Tuesday to set fresh lows for the year. Governor Lael Brainard urged monetary policy makers to wait for more realized progress on the Fed's inflation goal before lifting rates again. Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, for his part, warned that the central bank's tightening cycle may have harmed the economy. Five-year inflation protected Treasury yields also slipped into negative territory for the first time in nearly three months during the session. The Fedspeak continues Wednesday, with regional Fed Presidents Robert Kaplan and Loretta Mester slated to deliver remarks.
A Struggle for Sanctions
North Korea's powerful neighbors pushed back against calls for a fresh round of sanctions following its nuclear test. Russian President Vladimir Putin called sanctions "useless and ineffective," saying other governments would be better served by offering security guarantees to North Korea. He added that U.S. President Donald Trump is "not my bride." China has said that Trump's threat to shut off trade with any country doing business with North Korea is "unacceptable," and it's seen as unlikely the world's second-largest economy would agree to cut off oil exports to its neighbor. As such, some of China's larger firms -- especially financial institutions and energy companies -- may now be at risk of sanctions in a bid to curb North Korea's nuclear ambitions. Kim Jong Un's escalation of tensions has transformed South Korean President Moon Jae-in -- who campaigned on a pledge to open up dialogue with his northern neighbor -- into a military hawk.
It was risk-off again on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 Index down 0.8 percent with acute weakness in financial and tech shares. Crude oil rallied as refineries and pipelines resumed work, enabling energy stocks to offset some of the damage to major equity benchmarks. Gold futures gained more than 1 percent. The approach of Hurricane Irma, which may afflict Florida by the end of the week, sent orange juice futures skyward. Cruise stocks, meanwhile, made like the Titanic.
Australia second-quarter GDP growth, due out at 10:30 a.m. Tokyo time, is expected to quicken to 0.9 percent quarter on quarter from 0.3 percent in the first three months of the year. Reserve Bank of Australia official Alex Heath will also deliver a speech on the heels of the central bank's decision to leave rates unchanged at record lows. Labor cash earnings in Japan are forecast to rise 0.5 percent year-on-year as of July, but remain flat in real terms. Also on deck: Singapore's purchasing managers' index for August, Malaysian trade data for July, and Thai consumer confidence for August.
S&P/ASX 200 and Nikkei 225 futures are trading to the downside ahead of the open. The yen was the second-best performing G-10 currency on Tuesday, and may be poised to further weigh on domestic equities. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dipped again on Tuesday amid lingering geopolitical concerns.
What we’ve been reading
This is what caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
- Why the BoJ should give up on its inflation goal.
- Hong Kong's economy may be eclipsed by the city next door.
- Corporate America condemns Trump’s move to end DACA.
- Teck Resources plunges after China Investment Corp. unloads stake.
- Pokemon CEO has big plans.
- Steve Cohen’s comeback begins.
- What chefs want you to know about fish.