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Good morning. Policymakers around the world are pledging support in the midst of the coronavirus, exit polls are in from Israel and it’s a big day for Spanish banks. Here’s what’s moving markets.
Monetary policy-makers around the world are pledging to come to the aid of the global economy in the face of the coronavirus. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde joined a crowd vowing to take action, echoing communications by the U.S. Federal Reserve on Friday, and the Bank of Japan and Bank of England on Monday. Overnight, Australia’s central bank cut rates and signaled it’s prepared to ease further. Group of Seven finance ministers, meanwhile, are preparing a response statement, though it does not specifically call for new spending or coordinated cuts, Reuters reports.
European stock futures are flat at the moment after U.S. stocks had the best day since December 2018. Overnight trading was mixed in Asia amid an apparent lack of enthusiasm over the impact of any shift in policy, and as virus cases keep rising. Some strategists, at least, say there’s money to be made in betting everything calms down in stocks, and even last week’s sell off was seen by hedge funds as an opportunity to buy. Things are looking brighter for oil, too, where futures in New York have now recouped almost half of last week’s 16% plunge, with OPEC and its allies expected to deepen production cuts.
Israel Exit Polls
After the third election in less than a year, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears within striking range of forming the next government. Netanyahu, who has been recently indicted in three graft cases, gambled on repeat elections to win a majority in parliament and possibly keep himself out of jail. Exit polls showed his Likud party and its religious and nationalist allies defeating the opposing camp led by former military chief Benny Gantz. In a sign of the times, isolated voting stations were put up in parking lots to accommodate the roughly 5,700 Israelis under house quarantine after they were potentially exposed to coronavirus.
Spanish Banks Decision
It’s a huge day for the Spanish banking sector, which could face billions of euros in compensation claims if the European Union’s highest court delivers an unfavorable verdict on how they’ve been setting mortgage rates. The EU’s Court of Justice is expected to decide whether banks were sufficiently transparent with customers about why they were sold mortgages with interest rates based on a Spanish central bank index, rather than the more widely used Euribor. CaixaBank SA, Banco Santander SA and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA are among the most exposed.
Keep an eye out for comments from Brussels after the U.K. set some red lines as trade deal talks with the EU got going Monday. Over in the U.S., meanwhile, it’s Super Tuesday, where citizens in 14 states and one territory vote for a Democratic presidential candidate. Here’s the latest on the race for the candidacy. Macroeconomic data to come includes euro area inflation, U.K. construction PMI and Italian unemployment, but they might all carry less weight given the expected virus overhang. Companies reporting earnings include vegan sausage-roll maker Greggs Plc and personal-care firm Beiersdorf AG.
What We’ve Been Reading
This is what’s caught our eye over the past 24 hours.
- Spy scandal comes back to haunt Juncker.
- Your favorite sandy beach may not survive climate change.
- Jack Welch, much-imitated GE manager, dies at 84.
- Gates-led fund invests in synthetic palm oil startup.
- Spotify’s latest pitch to musicians: pay us.
- Man changes name to Hugo Boss.
- Unilever reaches gender balance across management team.
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