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European Morning Briefing: Stocks to Stall as Fresh Catalysts Eyed

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10/17/2017 | 06:13am CET
Snapshot: 
======== 

Stocks seen flat; EUR/USD 1.1779-82; bund yield 0.374%; Brent crude $57.82; gold $1293.50

-Italy's Government Approves 2018 Budget

-Trump to Meet With Yellen Thursday to Discuss Fed Chief Renomination

-Airbus and Bombardier Ink 20-Year Passenger Jet Partnership

-Daimler Recalls More Than a Million Vehicles Worldwide

-BP Launches IPO of Subsidiary, Raising Up To $892.5M

-Rio Tinto Reduces Mined Copper Guidance

Watch For: Eurozone, U.K. inflation; ZEW indicator; EU's General Affairs Council meets in Luxembourg to discuss Brexit and this week's summit of national leaders in Brussels; earnings from Pearson; trading updates from Danone, Investor; U.S. earnings from Goldman Sachs, Harley-Davidson, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Morgan Stanley

 
Headline News: 
============= 

Italy's government on Monday approved a 2018 budget that primarily aims to avert tax increases, as the country gears up for national elections which are likely to be held in the first months of next year.

The budget seeks to avoid a EUR15 billion value-added-tax increase that would automatically take effect next year if Rome doesn't find the financial resources to avert the increase.

It also includes measures aimed at consolidating economic growth, by encouraging private investments, while introducing other measures to tackle poverty. As a result of the budget, the country's deficit would drop to 1.6% next year, from a planned 2.1% for this year.

President Donald Trump plans to meet Thursday with Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen to discuss the possibility of nominating her for a second term as central-bank chief, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Ms. Yellen's four-year term as chairwoman expires in early February. She is one of several people under consideration for the Fed job, along with former Fed governor Kevin Warsh, current governor Jerome Powell, Stanford University economist John Taylor and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.

Mr. Trump met with Mr. Taylor on Wednesday, and interviewed Messrs. Warsh and Powell late last month.

 
Stocks: 
====== 

European stocks are poised for a benign open Tuesday, with futures for the DAX and FTSE 100 flat.

Many Asia-Pacific indexes were little changed ahead of the start of the Chinese Communist Party's congress.

One exception was Australia, where stocks rebounded thanks to stronger commodity prices. The S&P/ASX 200 was recently up 0.7% as it got a lift from Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. Their shares rose more than 1%, with Rio hitting another 3 1/2 -year high.

Japanese stocks were also off to a good start, with the Nikkei rising as much as 0.7%. But it struggled to stay in positive territory as the yen pulled back from session lows. The Nikkei was recently down 0.1%.

Monday's inflation data from China continued to be a market focus, said Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG Markets. Meanwhile, stock-market traders are also "likely pre-positioning" ahead of China's third-quarter growth report, which is due Thursday, Mr. Weston said.

U.S. stocks ended with modest gains on Monday, with major indexes eking out closing records as investors looked ahead to the release of corporate earnings expected to show strong fundamentals. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4%, the S&P 500 added 0.2% and Nasdaq rose 0.3%.

 
Corporate News: 
============== 

In a major retreat for Canada's flagship transportation company, Bombardier said Monday it had agreed to a joint venture with Airbus for its most important commercial-jet business in the wake of a crippling tariff ruling by the U.S. and sluggish sales for the aircraft.

The companies said Airbus would acquire a 50.01% stake in Bombardier's CSeries jets. Airbus CEO Tom Enders said the company was not investing any money upfront for its majority stake, but it will provide ongoing funding support.

When the partnership deal closes, Bombardier will be left with a 31% stake in the CSeries.

Daimler is recalling more than a million vehicles worldwide due to a fault that may cause airbags to inadvertently deploy, a company spokesman said on Monday.

The company is recalling 400,000 Mercedes-Benz cars in the U.K. and about 200,000 in Germany. The recall will affect vehicles in several other markets as well, the spokesperson said.

He said the issue arises in "rare circumstances" only and that the airbags themselves aren't problematic. The issue isn't related to the Takata airbag scandal, they added.

BP said Monday that it has begun the previously flagged spin-off of a U.S. subsidiary, raising up to $892.5 million.

The oil company said BP Midstream Partners is launching a public offer of up to 42.5 million common units, at an anticipated price of between $19 and $21 each.

The units will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange and represent a 41% limited partner interest in the subsidiary, which owns a portion of BP's pipelines.

 
Forex: 
===== 

The dollar extended gains against a broad basket of currencies after President Donald Trump doubled down on pledges to deliver tax reform.

Mr. Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made a show of unity in the leadership of the Republican Party on Monday, saying they had a common agenda.

Concerns that the White House may not be able to push through tax reform and other important parts of its legislative agenda anytime soon have weighed on the dollar in recent months.

Elsewhere, the euro slipped Monday from the $1.1800 handle as it declined 0.2% to $1.1795, extending its losing streak to a third day. The British pound halted its five-day rally against the greenback and failed to hold onto the $1.3300 level, as it dropped 0.3% to $1.3248.

In Asia, the Wall Street Journal Dollar Index was up 0.1% at 86.53. It rose 0.3% in New York Monday. Meantime, USD/JPY was 112.07-08, EUR/USD was 1.1779-82 and GBP/USD was 1.3258-60.

 
Bonds: 
===== 

U.S. government bonds weakened Monday as investors assessed the potential for tighter monetary policy in the wake of weaker-than-forecast inflation data.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 2.309%, its biggest single-day gain since Sept. 27, from 2.280% Friday. The two-year note yield, which is more sensitive to expectations for Fed policy, rose to 1.542%, the highest since October 2008, from 1.496% Friday.

"The hawkish-leaning Fed people are still stuck on the idea that they want to raise rates," said Andrew Brenner, head of global fixed income at NatAlliance Securities in New York.

 
Energy: 
====== 

Oil prices were little changed in early Asian trading, following a late-session pullback in Europe Monday trimmed gains to about 1%.

Fresh Mideast worries gave the market an early lift, but there's no sign that anything on the production front is about to change near-term. Without that, the risk premium added to the market won't be increased.

At 0225 GMT, November WTI futures were down 3 cents at $51.81/barrel and December Brent was flat at $57.82.

 
Metals: 
====== 

London spot gold prices edged lower in Asia after slipping below a key threshold.

Resilient U.S. economic data has again strengthened expectations of a rate hike this year, weighing on gold. But near-term prices are likely to depend on many other fronts, including geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and North Korea. Prices are likely to trade in a tight range until there is greater clarity, analysts say.

At 0221 GMT, spot gold was down 0.1% at $1,293.50/troy ounce.

Copper prices eased slightly after hitting fresh 3-year highs in the U.S. But on the LME, the red metal remains above the psychological threshold of $7,000/ton.

At 0315 GMT, three-month copper prices were down 0.2% while aluminum gained 0.4% and zinc added 0.1%.

Rio Tinto scaled back its forecast for mined copper this year after delays in the planned ramp-up of production at the part-owned Escondida operation in Chile's Atacama Desert.

The revision comes after a drop in the Anglo-Australian miner's copper output in the third quarter, and after a rebound the quarter before following a lengthy strike at the Escondida mine managed by BHP Billiton.

Rio Tinto on Tuesday said it now expected mined copper output of between 460,000 and 480,000 metric tons this year, against an earlier forecast of 500,000-550,000 tons. The pared forecast also reflects changes to be made at the Kennecott mine outside Salt Lake City, Utah.

The company said it continues to expect production of refined copper for the year to be between 185,000 and 225,000 tons, although that was subject to the outcome of an investigation into a fatal accident at Kennecott in early May.

Write to [email protected]

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

10-17-17 0012ET

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