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Good morning. Stocks in Asia were mostly higher after the end of China’s economic conference and the Bank of Japan rate decision, and three U.S. tech powerhouses reported earnings. Here’s what’s moving markets.
That’s a wrap
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang wrapped up the National People’s Congress in Beijing by saying the country will stick to its current economic support strategy, resisting the temptation to engage in large-scale stimulus like quantitative easing or a massive expansion in public spending. On the country’s trading relationship with the U.S., people familiar with the matter said Thursday that a meeting between Trump and President Xi to sign an deal won’t occur until next month at the earliest. Stocks mostly rose.
Three tech powerhouses with a combined market value of about $427 billion reported earnings after the U.S. market closed. Updates from software firms Oracle Corp. and Adobe Inc. were broadly negative, with both stocks falling in after-hours trading as analysts focused on weaker-than-expected profit outlooks. Numbers from chip-maker Broadcom Inc., were better received, however, suggesting industry demand will improve in the second half of 2019. Meanwhile, Facebook, Inc.’s troublesome week continued as the company’s chief product officer was said to leave. That said, Nasdaq futures are higher this morning.
The Bank of Japan downgraded its assessment of exports, factory output and overseas economies but left its monetary stimulus program unchanged, as analysts warned that the central bank has little ammunition left. The more dovish view was expected, and the yen strengthened against the dollar after falling Thursday. Japan's economy has had a tough start to the year, and while it might rebound somewhat in the second quarter, the trajectory this year is toward a slowdown, Bloomberg Intelligence wrote in a note prior to the BoJ’s update.
Members of the U.K. Parliament voted Thursday to let Prime Minister Theresa May go back to Brussels to request an extension to the divorce from the European Union, buying her time to try and persuade doubters in her own Conservative Party to back her proposal or risk a lengthy postponement to Brexit. Her pact with the trading bloc is expected to be voted on in the House for a third time next week. Parliament blocked a motion yesterday seeking a second referendum, though Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his team was still working on plans for another public vote that could garner sufficient parliamentary backing.
While we’re on Brexit, watch out for half-year earnings from U.K. pub firm J.D. Wetherspoon Plc shortly. The chain’s founder, Tim Martin, is a staunch supporter of the divorce and usually uses his company’s financial statements to tell us just why. Also look out for quarterly numbers from Swedish fast fashion giant H&M AB. Elsewhere, the final reading of euro-zone inflation is expected to be stable, having slowed since the third quarter, while Turkey unemployment is seen continuing its rise toward last year's high.
What We’ve Been Reading
This is what’s caught our eye over the past 24 hours.
- This bank's seen it all since 1590. So Brexit's no big deal.
- ‘Billions,’ ‘succession’ and the making of wealth porn.
- Huge pools of dirty money are Europe’s worst-kept banking secret.
- Corruption sinks a nation and may turn a comedian into president.
- A billionaire just gave shares worth $7.5 billion to charity.
- Piece found in crash wreckage shows jet was set to dive, source says.
- VW CEO apologizes for phrase similar to Nazi slogan.
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