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Europe is questioning Chinese trade in the wake of Xi’s visit, U.S. stocks rallied after stronger factory data out of China and the U.K. Parliament fails to find a Plan B for Brexit. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.
Xi Fails to Calm Europe
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stepped up his criticism of Chinese trade practices just days after President Xi Jinping sought to soothe European concerns in Paris. At the March 26 meeting, held together with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the EU side explained that “it can’t stay like this, that Chinese companies have free access to our markets in Europe, but we don’t to the markets in China,” Juncker told lawmakers in the German state of Saarland on Monday. He also said Chinese investments in the continent can make it harder in the EU to agree on foreign policy. “One country isn’t able to condemn Chinese human rights policy because Chinese investors are involved in one of their ports,” Juncker said. “It can’t work like this.”
All Brexit Options Rejected — Again
The U.K. Parliament rejected all options in a set of votes on four potential alternative blueprints for Brexit on Monday, all of which would either keep closer ties to the European Union than Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan entails, or would potentially stop Brexit altogether. The government says the legal default will be for the U.K. to leave the European Union in 11 days. May is still aiming to get her unpopular deal through Parliament and will call a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday to discuss the next steps. As uncertainty swirls, here’s what a soft Brexit would mean for the pound.
U.S. Stocks Rally to Year High
Asian stocks looked set to advance at the open after U.S. markets rallied to the highest levels of the year. The S&P 500 closed at the highest since October, while the Dow gained the most since Feb. 15. Shares of Lyft dropped below its IPO price as analysts noted there is limited visibility into the company’s path to growth and profitability. The Stoxx Europe 600 climbed on the heels of its best quarter in four years after key China manufacturing PMIs for March beat the highest estimate in Bloomberg surveys of economists. That’s despite manufacturing data for Europe coming in at the lowest since 2013. Yields on Treasuries rose the most since January after as a gauge of U.S. factories topped estimates in March.
White House Whistleblower
House Democrats said Monday they will subpoena a former official in the White House Personnel Security Office after a woman who works there told them that top-secret clearances were handled improperly, including some for top aides to the president. Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings wrote in a letter to the White House that his panel is working with the whistle-blower — Tricia Newbold, a longtime employee in the security office — who says that she and others in the office denied more than two dozen applications for clearances only to see them overturned by supervisors. The development is part of a rapid escalation of the aggressive oversight of President Donald Trump’s administration that Democrats promised before voters gave them control of the House in November. It came shortly after the House Judiciary Committee announced it would meet on Wednesday to authorize subpoenas for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s entire report as well as documents from five former Trump associates.
Lyft’s Drop Sends Ominous Signal
Lyft Inc. fell below its initial public offering price of $72 a share on its second day of trading, an ominous sign for the stampede of unicorn companies planning to follow the ride-hailing business to the stock markets this year. The IPO has become a sort of test case, not just for Lyft or rival Uber Technologies Inc., but for a glut of highly valued startups like Pinterest Inc., Postmates Inc. and Slack Technologies Inc. that have signaled plans to list this year. Getting Wall Street hyped for an IPO is a practiced science, but managing expectations after a public offering is a game of market psychology that Lyft and its underwriters saw turn against them on Monday, said David Erickson, a finance professor at Pennsylvania University’s Wharton School.
What we’ve been reading:
This is what caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
- A fugitive tycoon fights Hong Kong’s bid to make China extraditions easier.
- It’s Australian budget day. Here’s where to find the economy’s weak spots.
- Bollywood is releasing a Modi biopic, days ahead of the Indian election.
- Global factory orders mired in seven-month contraction.
- Art dealer pays $4.2 million to settle “fake” old master dispute.
- The city where the ultra wealthy hide their Hermes.
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