Congress seeks comment from Comey, U.S. stocks slump on political turmoil, and Japan’s growth streak set to continue. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.
Congress Seeks Comey
A number of U.S. congressional panels are looking for former FBI Director James Comey to testify about what’s shaping up to be U.S. President Donald Trump’s deepest crisis to date. The New York Times first reported on the existence of a memo written by Comey which documents Trump asking him to drop a probe into former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn. Noah Feldman, Bloomberg View columnist and a professor of constitutional and international law at Harvard University, writes that the Comey memo as described could constitute an impeachable offense. Congressional Republican leaders are largely standing by Trump, however, with House Speaker Paul Ryan saying he has full confidence in the president—but adding that Congress will pursue all the facts.
The Trump Dump
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell almost 373 points to suffer its biggest loss since September as investors saw the latest news out of Washington as dashing any hope for a fiscal fillip this year. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell for the sixth consecutive session. Volatility emerged from its slumber with a vengeance, while U.S. Treasuries and safe-haven assets like gold rallied. The yield curve, as measured by the spread between two and 10-year Treasury yields, completely retraced its post-election widening on Wednesday morning.
Abenomics Growth Streak
Japan is poised to post five consecutive quarters of economic expansion for the first time since 2006. Economists are calling for the preliminary reading of first-quarter growth, scheduled for release at 8:50 a.m. Tokyo time, to rise to 1.7 percent quarter-on-quarter on an annualized basis. The Bank of Japan raised its projection for economic activity modestly at its April meeting. Also on deck: Australia’s jobs report, forecast to show net employment additions of 5,000 with the unemployment rate holding steady at 5.9 percent in April.
June Hike in Doubt
The nascent market selloff may hamper the Federal Reserve’s tightening plans, traders wagered. The implied odds of a hike when the central bank meets next month fell to below 60 percent from roughly three-in-four on Tuesday. During a speech in Las Vegas, former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke said he doesn’t see “wild excess” in financial markets and that the jobless rate looks to have dropped “as low as it can go.” The reduction of the Fed’s balance sheet, which New York Fed President Bill Dudley said would likely start this year or the next, promises to be a very glacial affair.
The Japanese yen, the best-performing G10 currency Wednesday, had its biggest advance against the U.S. dollar since July as risk-off sentiment rippled throughout asset classes. Asian stocks were on the leading edge of the global dip in stocks, and seem set to extend their declines. Nikkei 225 and S&P/ASX 200 futures are pointing to a lower open for their respective benchmark equity indexes as of 5:30 a.m. Tokyo time.
What we’ve been reading
This is what caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
- Why a Chinese chemical company spent $1 billion on a talking cat.
The big technical reason for the low-vol regime.
Ivanka Trump under fire for allegedly using $1-an-hour Chinese labor.
- Harvard, Yale, and Stanford are betting big on ETFs.
Real wages falling in Britain as Brexit bites.
The PR firm where the music never stops and everyone is the DJ.