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Good morning. Asian stocks mainly slipped, Brexit pessimism is lingering and it’s all eyes on the ECB later. Here’s what’s moving markets this morning.
It’s looking like a down day in European stocks, with Asian peers mostly lower as global growth concerns resurface. And Wall Street has slipped every day this week after data showed a widening U.S. trade deficit and private companies added fewer employees than analysts forecast last month. The dollar is steady after run of six daily gains.
Pessimism among European officials grappling with Brexit isn’t going away: Negotiators suspect that, whatever they are able to offer the U.K., it won’t be enough to get Parliament to back Theresa May’s deal, Bloomberg reported. As if the prime minister needed any more bad news, Brexit hardliners in her party appear to have stiffened their resolve once more. That said, the pound is a touch firmer against the euro this morning.
The European Central Bank’s monthly rate decision and press conference from President Mario Draghi will be keenly eyed later, particularly after a report saying officials are poised to cut their economic forecasts by enough to justify another bout of loans for banks. Statistics on the currency bloc’s economic growth are due later, and follow a warning Wednesday from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development of a sharp slowdown in the region.
Oil crept higher as investors weighed a U.S. crude-stockpile surge that threatens to undermine OPEC’s attempt to avoid a glut against a drop in fuel inventories. But while the Sino-U.S. trade war may have sparked some concern among oil investors, a new U.S. report shows Asia remains the top buyer of American crude, more than doubling its intake last year.
There’s another earnings dump coming shortly, and it’ll be full of big names. Of note, auto-sector supplier Continental AG from Germany will be followed amid concern that the U.S.-China trade war is weighing on the sector, and U.K. baker Greggs Plc might give us an idea of how successful its loved and loathed vegan sausage roll has been. British asset manager Schroders Plc and French electronic billboard firm JCDecaux are among the other top picks for today.
What We’ve Been Reading
This is what’s caught our eye over the past 24 hours.
- A grim beneficiary of Central American gang violence.
- In the middle of winter, Bering Strait sea ice is disappearing.
- Wall Street could face fresh restrictions on bonus payments.
- Trump fussed over tablecloths and The Rockettes for his inauguration.
- Goldman Sachs has relaxed its dress code.
- Probably-retiring tennis star Andy Murray secures 8-million-pound sponsorship deal.
- Zuckerberg outlines plan for 'privacy-focused' Facebook.
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