Global shares mixed … Fed chair to testify before Congress … US, Chinese trade envoys have 1st contact after Trump-Xi truce
TOKYO (AP) – Global shares are mixed today in cautious trading ahead of closely watched congressional testimony by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. France’s CAC 40 inched up less than 0.1% in early trading. Germany’s DAX lost less than 0.1%, while Britain’s FTSE 100 fell nearly 0.1%. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed down nearly 0.2%. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.3% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.3%, while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.4%. Wall Street is expected to open lower with Dow futures down 0.2% and S&P futures down 0.1%.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will testify before Congress for two days starting today. And every sentence he speaks is sure to be parsed by investors who expect – and hope – the Fed will cut interest rates later this month for the first time in a decade. The Fed’s benchmark interest rate currently stands in a range of 2.25% to 2.5% and the central bank has not cut rates since the Great Recession in 2008. Last year, Fed officials raised rates four times.
BEIJING (AP) – The top U.S. and Chinese trade envoys have spoken by phone in their first known contact since Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping agreed to resume stalled talks on a tariff war. The Chinese Commerce Ministry says Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin talked with Beijing’s envoy, Vice Premier Liu He. Economists say the truce might be fragile because the two sides still face the same disagreements that caused talks to stall in May.
LONDON (AP) – A former British prime minister is threatening to take Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson to court if he tries to suspend Parliament to deliver a no-deal Brexit. John Major’s comments follow a televised debate between Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, who are looking to replace Prime Minister Theresa May. In one of the clashes, Johnson refused to rule out bypassing Parliament to prevent lawmakers from blocking a no-deal departure from the European Union on Oct. 31.
BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union has trimmed its forecasts for economic growth next year as global trade tensions weigh on the continent’s export-focused manufacturers. The EU executive commission says it’s reducing its forecast for next year for both the 19-country eurozone and the wider 27 countries that are due to remain in the block after Britain leaves, which is scheduled to happen in October. Eurozone growth is expected to pick up from 1.2% this year to just 1.4% in 2020, down from a previous estimate of 1.5%.