Traders react after the closing bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)  

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Fire engulfs the historic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Bank earnings weigh on stocks. And the Bank of Japan’s ETF buying is called into question. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.

Fire at Notre Dame Cathedral

A massive fire ripped through Notre Dame Cathedral in central Paris, toppling the spire on the 850-year-old Gothic monument and leaving France in shock over the extensive damage to one of the nation’s most iconic landmarks. Flames jumped up the ornate spire before it collapsed onto the blaze-engulfed roof, sending smoke billowing out into the evening skyline of the French capital. Authorities said late Monday evening that they believed they had saved the two bell towers. The historic church, located on one of two islands in the middle of the Seine River, had been under renovation and scaffolding had covered much of the top structure. French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild.

Asia Stocks Set to Slip 

Asian stocks looked set for declines Tuesday after U.S. stocks halted a three-day advance on disappointing bank earnings. Crude oil fell toward $63 a barrel in New York. Futures pointed lower in Tokyo, Sydney and Hong Kong. The S&P 500 Index slipped from a six-month high as earnings season kicked into high gear. Sentiment was hit after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. missed estimates for sales and trading revenue, while Citigroup Inc. also retreated after its revenue matched expectations. Treasuries and the dollar stabilized.

Tariff Game  

China is considering a U.S. request to shift some tariffs on key agricultural goods to other products so the Trump administration can sell any eventual trade deal as a win for farmers ahead of the 2020 election, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The step would involve China moving retaliatory duties it imposed starting last July on $50 billion worth of U.S. goods to non-agricultural imports, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions were private. The shift is because the U.S. doesn’t intend to lift its own duties on $50 billion of Chinese imports even if an agreement to resolve the trade war between the two nations is reached, one of the people said.

Citi, Goldman Fail to Impress

Citigroup and Goldman Sachs both delivered better-than-expected earnings. Instead of celebrating, executives spent Monday morning assuring investors they’ll make more progress on revamping units that are dragging down results. Growth stalled at Citigroup’s consumer unit, so executives pointed to green shoots in a digital bank effort. Goldman Sachs had the biggest first-quarter trading decline among banks that have reported so far, and its executives highlighted efforts to re-focus the unit on more electronic trades that require less capital.

BOJ Bungle 

The Bank of Japan should stop buying exchange-traded funds as the purchases will ruin the stock market’s ability to allocate capital efficiently, according to the chairman of Commons Asset Management Inc. Ken Shibusawa, who has more than three decades of investment experience at firms including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase & Co., said that the BOJ’s trillions of yen in ETF purchases since 2010 will make Japan’s stock market as dysfunctional as the bond market. He is a descendant of Eiichi Shibusawa, the 19th century industrialist who led Japan’s introduction to capitalism after the Meiji Restoration. “The BOJ indirectly becomes a shareholder of Japan Inc. as part of its policy,” Shibusawa said in an interview in Tokyo on April 11. “That’s pushing Japan’s capital market toward destruction.”

What we’ve been reading:

This is what caught our eye over the last 24 hours.

  • Hands-on with Samsung’s folding phone.
  • NASA awards Musk $69 million to fly SpaceX rocket into Asteroid.
  • Jack Ma again endorses extreme overtime as furor rages on.
  • The world’s biggest growth engines are shackled to the fate of trade talks.
  • China is hiring hundreds to run its Xi-devoted propaganda app. 
  • Spicy hotpot made this couple more than $5 billion richer.

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