Global News February 19, 2016

  1. Bloomberg News
  2. Global News February 19, 2016

Bloomberg Business

-Oil falls: Oil is trading lower after U.S. crude inventories rose to their highest level since at least 1930 with a barrel of West Texas Intermediate 65 cents lower at $30.12 at 10:55 a.m. London time. Oil industry leaders are gathering in Houston, Texas next week for the IHS CREAWeek conference – often dubbed the Davos of the energy industry – as questions over the viability of large parts of the industry are brought to the fore due to the price plunge.

-Brexit: British Prime Minister David Cameron is in Brussels trying to get a deal on the U.K.’s membership of the European Union that would allow him to win the coming referendum on that membership. Talks which went on until very late last night did produce some progress, but not enough for a deal yet, Cameron said. One piece of analysis shows that if the U.K. does end up leaving the European Union, no one there would escape unhurt. The slow progress in Brussels is hitting the pound, which extended this week’s loss to 1.4 percent against the dollar.

-China eases (a little) more: China’s Ministry of Finance said it will cut taxes on home transactions as it steps up support for the property market, adding to measures reducing down-payment requirements for first-time buyers announced earlier this month. People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said this morning that the country’s past as a centrally planned economy means officials are more likely to want to intervene in the new market economy. His comments came after the central bank said that it will increase reserve ratios for some banks who no longer meet the criteria for preferential reserve requirement ratios following a sharp increase in lending in January.

-Stocks weaken: European stock markets are ending the week on a soft note, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index 0.6 percent lower at 11:20 a.m. London time, with insurers, auto-makers and miners all lower. Overnight, stocks in China closed virtually unchanged to cap their best week in two months while in Japan the Topix index pared the week’s rally to 8 percent when it closed 1.5 percent lower. S&P 500 futures are pointing to a red open.

-Coming up: At 8:30 a.m. ET the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the latest CPI data for the U.S., with the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg for an increase to 1.3 percent in the headline number. Core CPI (which excludes food and energy) is expected to show a 2.1 percent increase from last year. This weekend also sees South Carolina’s Republican primary, a vote with a near-perfect record in predicting the eventual nominee.


 CNN Money

-Market overview: U.S. stock futures are inching up ahead of the open. Oil prices are slipping a tad, trading around $30.50 per barrel. Gold prices, which have jumped about 15% this year, are holding steady around $1,222 per ounce. European markets aren’t making any big moves in early trading, while Asian markets ended the week with mixed results.

-Watching currencies: Traders are keenly monitoring moves in the euro and British pound as U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron tries to renegotiate his nation’s membership in the European Union. All 28 EU nations will have to unanimously agree to any changes so it’s unclear if any deal will be reached before the weekend. Cameron is working to secure more favorable terms for his country on issues like migration. He plans to hold a referendum by the end of 2017 asking Britons whether the U.K. should stay or leave the EU. The British pound has steadily fallen by about 10% versus the euro since November as markets worry about a potential British exit, or Brexit, from the European Union.

-Stock market mover — Nordstrom: Shares of Nordstrom (JWN) are slumping in early trading after the retailer reported worse-than-expected quarterly results.

– Earnings: Deere (DE) and retail conglomerate VF Corp (VFC) will post their quarterly results ahead of the open. VF Corp owns brands including The North Face, Timberland and 7 for All Mankind.

-Economy: On the economic front, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will release inflation data for January at 8:30 a.m. ET. If the figure indicates inflation is heading toward 2%, that could boost the odds of another interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve in March. The latest December data showed annual inflation hovering around 0.7%.

– Thursday market recap: Stocks broke their bullish streak and ended Thursday in the red. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 40 points. The S&P 500 shed 0.5%, while the Nasdaq closed 1% lower.