World stocks near record highs
Stock markets saw some gains today as Chinese shares improved and even Russia’s equities rallied after three days of selling. Caution remains though as the EU is set to have further talks today on ramping up sanctions on Russia after a videoconference yesterday between major European leaders and President Obama agreed more action was necessary. Japan has also imposed new restrictions, which Moscow has said will damage the relationship of the two countries. The Fed meets tomorrow and markets are awaiting any indication of a rise in interest rates; a further reduction in the bond-buying program is expected. Oil prices are down with lower demand in Europe and Asia and increased supplies from the North Sea and West Africa. Read the full story.
Earnings reports have been putting smiles on investors’ faces recently and that is expected to continue today. UPS, Reynolds American and Pfizer are all reporting before the opening bell this morning while Twitter and American Express will report after the close. Other data today includes S&P/Case-Shiller's home price index for May at 9 a.m. ET and the Conference Board consumer confidence index at 10am.
Russian sanctions necessary but could damage EU recovery
While the US and Europe agree that more is needed to be done to add pressure on Russia, there are concerns that increased sanctions could harm recovery in the EU. If Moscow decides to retaliate it could affect Europe in a number of ways. The headline-grabber is always the threat of Russia cutting off or reducing gas supplies to the EU, but other measures could also mean pain for exporters. Already Moscow has banned imports of processed fruit and vegetables from Ukraine and hinted that it could do the same for EU supplies. With EU-Russia trade worth $451 billion last year, any major response by Moscow would hit hard. Germany and Italy are among the countries with strong trade links to Russia. Oil giant BP has said today that further sanctions could damage its business, with a third of its crude oil output produced in Russia. Read the full story.
More than a third of Americans face debt collectors
The extent of personal debt in the US has been highlighted by a study from the Urban Institute. The report shows that 35 per cent of US citizens have some kind of debt in collection; credit cards, hospital bills, mortgage arrears, student loans and more. The Institute says that debts like these can affect a variety of things including getting a job or home. The southern and western states have the highest level of delinquent debt and the situation has been worsened by the slow rate of wage rises compared to inflation. Read the full story.