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Good morning. It’s the final day of campaigning in the U.K. election, Aramco arrives and the Fed’s ahead. Here’s what’s moving markets.
The U.K. election campaign sees its final day before votes are cast and while the polls still suggest the Conservatives will eke out a majority, a hotly awaited new poll suggests the gap has narrowed over the past few weeks. That indicator and the uncertainty it points towards about the future path for Brexit should the Tories fail to win a majority, sent the pound lower and the currency’s rally could be susceptible even if Boris Johnson prevails. Ultimately, the road ahead for investors and for a currently stagnant economy is long no matter what the country wakes up to on Friday.
The world will get a new most-valuable company today as Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil behemoth, starts trading on the Riyadh exchange. For many, it marks the end of a long-running saga around if and when Saudi Arabia would eventually list the group. The kingdom has now invested more than $2 billion in the IPO and after overseas investors balked at the spectacular valuation being sought, the domestic nature of the listing will mean Riyadh’s bourse vaults in the global rankings. However, given the tiny portion of the group actually being floated, the amount of shares that trade hands may be relatively paltry.
Chinese officials expect the U.S. will delay the tariffs due to be imposed on Sunday, a move that would allow more time for the two sides to work through the lingering disagreements standing in the way of a phase one trade deal. Larry Kudlow, the top economic adviser to President Donald Trump, also said that no decision has yet been made on re-imposing tariffs on Brazilian and Argentinean steel which the president had said last week would be going into effect immediately. Two more issues that the president will have to work through as he faces the impeachment charges from the House.
The Federal Reserve’s latest decision will arrive after European markets are closed and while the expectation is that Chairman Jerome Powell will reiterate that policy is on hold, markets may be looking to some of his colleagues for pointers on when the central bank could hike rates again. Still, a lot of pressure on Powell and on European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, who will lead her first policy decision on Thursday, has been relieved by a turn in sentiment from investors that the worst for the economy may be over. Yet uncertainty lingers over Lagarde’s first meeting with no clear expectation in markets about the future direction of rates.
Asian markets aren’t quite convinced yet on the easing risk of new tariffs on Sunday and were mixed in trade on Wednesday. European stock futures are indicating a similar lack of direction. It’s quite a light day for data in Europe, but watch out for U.S. consumer price inflation numbers and a rate decision from Brazil’s central bank later in the day. The earnings day will be dominated by travel firm TUI AG and Spanish clothing retailer Inditex SA.
What We’ve Been Reading
This is what’s caught our eye over the past 24 hours.
U.K. election campaign rules are facing an overhaul. London Stock Exchange is consulting on a shorter trading day. Bubble trouble is mounting for investors. Ray Dalio is now mentoring Diddy. Cheap money in the German property market. The hunt for spies among Chinese-Americans. Christmas dinner in a can for gamers.
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