Markets await Fed minutes; Japan’s GDP exceeds expectations
The Federal Reserve releases the minutes of its April meeting today and the markets are waiting to see if there are clues to a possible interest rate rise with next month still seen as possible. The Dow closed Tuesday at a record while the S&P was lower and the Nasdaq was flat. Higher yields and a stronger dollar were considered by investors. Asian markets have closed Wednesday’s session mixed with Tokyo the best performer following GDP data showing 2.4 per cent growth in Q1; 1.5 per cent had been predicted. Europe is largely trading lower so far ahead of the Fed minutes with London currently outperforming its peers.
US stock futures are mixed. Oil is trending higher (Brent $64.79, WTI $58.64 at 5.55am ET). Gold is trending higher.
MBA mortgage applications at 7am ET
EIA petroleum status at 10.30am ET
FOMC minutes at 2pm ET
Salesforce, Staples and Target are among the companies reporting earnings today.
Chicago Fed chair says no rate hike until next year
The chair of the Chicago Fed says that it is not likely to be appropriate for there to be an interest rate hike until 2016. Speaking in the early hours of Wednesday morning Charles Evans said that inflation is too low for the Fed to increase rates.
Suddenlink majority stake acquired by French billionaire
France’s Altice SA has agreed to buy 70 per cent of US firm Suddenlink Communications. The announcement made in France Wednesday is part of the billionaire Patrick Drahi’s push into the US cable market; reports suggest his firm has also made a bid for Time Warner. The Suddenlink deal values the company at $9.1 billion.
UBS to settle forex investigation with $545 million
Swiss bank UBS has agreed to settle an investigation by US regulators into manipulation of interest and exchange rates for $545 million. The bank will plead guilty to one charge of wire fraud but USA Today reports that UBS will not face criminal charges. Fines and penalties will be paid and the bank will also change its business methods in some areas.
Yahoo shares drop on tax speculation
Speculation that Yahoo’s plan to create a spin-off company for its high-value stake in Alibaba is under threat has seen the company’s shares fall. New tax rules are being discussed by the IRS which could mean that the spin-off would not be tax free, making the move less attractive. It’s currently unclear if or when the rules would be implemented and Yahoo says the spin-off plan continues in the meantime.