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A Hong Kong demonstrator gets shot, U.S. manufacturing takes a beating, and Apple is nearing a record. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.
Things are looking even more dire in Hong Kong. For the first time, a demonstrator was shot by police with a live round on Tuesday as the city suffered some of the most serious clashes since widespread unrest began in June. By the evening, 31 people had been hospitalized for injuries suffered during the day’s events, with two in critical and one in serious condition, Hong Kong’s Information Services Department said. Rallies against Beijing’s increasing grip raged across the financial hub hours after President Xi Jinping oversaw celebrations marking 70 years of Communist rule in China, including a parade of the country’s most advanced weaponry. Xi called for China’s “complete unification,” and said the “one country, two systems” principle under which Hong Kong is managed must be upheld. President Donald Trump tweeted a message congratulating Xi on China’s anniversary.
Markets Set for Slide
Asian stocks looked set to follow U.S. equities lower after a weak reading on American manufacturing added to concern about the global economy, while treasuries and the yen climbed. The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell to 1.64% and the dollar weakened against major peers. The S&P 500 fell the most in five weeks after the Institute for Supply Management’s factory index slipped to the lowest since June 2009. The news came on the heels of disappointing figures in Europe earlier this week, sparking another round of speculation about how much the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates this year. Elsewhere, oil fell to the lowest in almost two months as the negative economic signals darkened the outlook for global energy demand.
Not a good sign. The global economy sounded clear alarm bells on Tuesday as a wave of data showed manufacturing stuck in a slump, exports falling and sentiment sliding. In the U.S., a closely watched factory index unexpectedly dropped to the lowest since 2009, driving down stocks as well as yields on Treasuries. U.S auto sales look equally grim. Elsewhere, the specter of deflation resurfaced as South Korea, a bellwether for international trade, reported a drop in consumer prices and the Reserve Bank of Australia cut its interest rate to a record low. And that’s not all: as the U.S.-China trade war festers away, industry executives from Germany to Japan and Russia complained of contracting business, and the World Trade Organization cut its forecast for commerce to the lowest in a decade.
The U.S. and North Korea agreed to resume working-level talks within the next week, a move that could break a deadlock in discussions aimed at ending Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. If it sounds like you’ve heard it all before, that’s because you have. North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump had agreed at a June 30 meeting in the demilitarized zone to hold talks in a matter of weeks, but the two sides have not met since then to discuss details of a disarmament deal. The agreement this time around was first reported by the state media of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the formal name of North Korea, and was confirmed by a State Department spokeswoman. Thus far, little progress has been made toward an agreement on North Korea’s nuclear program despite three meetings between the two leaders.
In the latest on the Brexit saga, European Union governments have discussed giving the U.K. a major concession on Brexit by possibly time-limiting the contentious backstop mechanism for the Irish border, two people familiar with the matter said. While the discussions on a time limit haven’t quite found their way into the negotiating room, they’ve taken place between major EU capitals including Paris and Berlin, one of the people said. A time limit — something the EU has long said was out of the question — would only be on offer if the U.K. accepted a backstop which would keep Northern Ireland in a customs union with the bloc. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is planning to reveal his own proposals this week, has said he won’t allow the U.K. to be trapped in the backstop, which was agreed to by his predecessor Theresa May. There’s a caveat here, though. Any backstop concession could only come if the U.K. and EU could rebuild trust — which has taken serious beating in recent weeks.
What We’ve Been Reading
This is what’s caught our eye over the past 24 hours.
- Volker to testify despite Pompeo letter: The latest in the impeachment saga.
- As China retreats from global property deals, South Korea fills the void.
- Harvard defeats suit seeking to bar race-conscious admission.
- Dalio conjectures about possible capital limits to China.
- Credit Suisse's spying scandal started with a fight at a New Year's party.
- Buttigieg and Sanders are raking in the cash, but struggling in the polls.
- Apple nears a record as optimism grows over demand for iPhones.
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