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Korea takes center stage amid a historic peace summit. The BOJ is expected to follow the ECB in holding off on any policy changes. And tech bulls stage a comeback stateside. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.
Kim Jong Un Makes Historic Trek
It's a big day in the Koreas. Kim Jong Un will become the first North Korean leader to enter South Korea since the peninsula was divided nearly seven decades ago. At 9:30 a.m. local time, Kim will walk across the border at Panmunjom village ahead of a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The talks -- the third meeting between leaders of the nations since the Korean War and the first since 2007 -- will go a long way in determining whether Kim can eventually strike a deal with U.S. President Donald Trump.
Stocks Advance, Aluminum Surges Again
U.S. equities rallied as strong earnings from Facebook and Advanced Micro Devices boosted tech shares. The Nasdaq surged as much as 2%. The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell back below 3%. Meanwhile, volatility returned to the metals market. Aluminum surged after Bloomberg reported Oleg Deripaska is planning to keep control of United Co. Rusal, potentially setting up a standoff between Russia and the U.S. on sanctions.
Tech Earnings Surprise to the Upside
Earnings after the close from Amazon, Intel and Microsoft were well received on Wall Street. Amazon.com forecast second-quarter profit that topped analysts’ predictions, buoyed by swelling ranks of Prime subscribers and a profitable cloud-computing division that’s winning more corporate customers. Intel gave a better-than-projected second-quarter sales forecast and raised its earnings outlook for the year. And Microsoft exceeded analysts’ estimates for fiscal third-quarter sales and profit, lifted by strong corporate demand for cloud-computing services as the software maker added new features. Amazon and Intel were higher in after-hours trading, while Microsoft was little changed.
The European Central Bank held rates and left its bond-buying program unchanged and maintained its pledge to move slowly in removing euro-area stimulus. Mario Draghi said policy makers refrained from discussing the end of asset purchases or even the stronger euro as they focused on gauging the health of the region’s economy. “It’s quite clear that since our last meeting, broadly all countries experienced, in a different extent of course, some moderation in growth or some loss of momentum," he said.
Next up in central bank action, the BOJ is set to conclude its two-day meeting by announcing no change to its existing policy. But with the yen sliding at the fastest pace since 2016, markets will be keen to read the tea leaves for signs of possible exit timings and methods. Meanwhile, senior Trump administration officials will meet with their Chinese counterparts in the coming days, where they're expected to push China to address a wide range of trade irritants.
What we’ve been reading
This is what caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
- China’s economy showed slight signs of moderation in April amid trade tensions.
- The U.S. Senate confirms CIA Director Mike Pompeo to be secretary of state.
- China's tech rout has taken $114 billion off Tencent's market cap.
- Asia’s top stock market this year is about to become the world’s worst performer this month.
- Malaysia's Najib says China won't match the U.S. as military power.
- Bill Cosby has been convicted of sexual assault and faces jail time.
- India's monsoon season kicks off with almost 37,000 lightning bolts.
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