World Markets Live - May 17 - CNBC Live Events
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World Markets Live - May 17

We’ll be updating you throughout the day with essential breaking news, data alerts, earnings reports and all the major market movements.

  • The Dow fell for the fifth time in six sessions yesterday. A global flight to safety sees U.S. stock markets called lower, according to future values.
     
     
    The risk-off trade is pushing up the value for U.S. Treasuries.
     
     
  • Italy's world trade balance for March came to a surplus of 5.418 billion euros, versus 5.232 billion euros the year before, according to ISTAT.
     
    Italy's trade surplus with the EU came to 1.250 billion euros, versus 1.199 billion euros the year before.
  • Ana Cuddeford, investment director at M&G, discusses investing in Europe.
     
    We’ve seen markets acting very positively to economic data, people take money off the table, but at the same time, what we are looking for, if there were to be any contagion in European equities, we’d probably look to put some money to work there, because we like the fundamentals.
     
    Cuddeford added that there is still some scarring from the economic crisis and political fears in European, meaning many investors stayed on the sidelines.
     
     
  • Asian markets are mostly trading lower today, following the political turmoil surrounding President Trump.
     
    The safe haven yen continues to climb as risk-off sentiment hits the Asian markets.
     
     
  •  

    You can send your loved one's ashes into space on Elon Musk's SpaceX rocket for $2,500

    The capsule containing the ashes will orbit the Earth for two years before re-entering the atmosphere "as as shooting star".
  • Shares in Fiat Chrysler are trading lower following reports the EU will launch legal action against Italy for failing to properly handle the carmaker's emissions-test cheating.
     
    Shares are down around 2 percent.
     
     
    The EU is said to be frustrated at the lack of co-operation by Italian authorities to clamp down on defeat devices, adding that the government has failed to convince them of their legality. 
  • The U.K. government has sold its remaining stake in Lloyds Bank, returning the lender to full private ownership nearly a decade after it was bailed out. 
     
    Shares are up more than 1.5 percent today.
     

    Lloyds says the government will make a £900 million profit from the bailout. However that figure has been disputed by a number of industry commentators, who say it does not take into account the interest payments the government had to shoulder in order to fund the bank's rescue. 
  • The latest 13-F filings were a tale of the tech names. CNBC's Leslie Picker's has taken a look at where Wall Street's biggest names put their money in the first quarter.

  • Germany's deputy finance minister Jens Spahn says unless monetary policy normalises soon there will be negative side effects.
     
    According to Reuters, he says the ECB should ensure the exit from extraordinary policy measures should not occur too late.
  • The U.K. unemployment rate for March came to 4.6 percent, the lowest rate since 1975.
     
    Jobless count fell 53,000 to 1.541 million in the first quarter, as expected by a Reuters poll.
     
    Average weekly earnings including bonuses was up 2.4 percent year on year in the first quarter. However, factoring in inflation, weekly earnings excluding bonuses fell 0.2 percent, the first decline since Q3 2014.
     
    The U.K. claimant count for April changed to 793,000 up 19,400, more than expected.
  • Here's how sterling reacted to the latest U.K. data.
     
     
    Weekly earnings rose 2.4 percent year on year in the first quarter, but earnings excluding bonuses fell 0.2 percent in real terms, the first decline since Q3 2014.
     
    Job vacancies increased to 777,000 in the three months to April. The number of non-U.K. EU nationals working in Britain rose to 2.36 million in Q1 from 2.31 million in Q4 2016.
  • U.K. yields on government debt remains lower after the employment and earnings data.
     
    British households suffered the biggest financial squeeze since mid-2014, according to the IHS Markit survey.
     
     
  • Household incomes in the U.K. are being squeezed in real terms as inflation rises. Despite the unemployment rate falling to a 42 year low, U.K. wages excluding bonuses grew just 2.1 percent year on year in the first quarter, lower than the 2.2 percent expected.
     
    This is the weakest rate since July 2016. Factoring in inflation, earnings in real terms fell 0.2 percent, the first decline since Q3 2014.
     
    Reuters's chief markets correspondent Jamie McGeever shared a chart on social media to illustrate that real wages are falling at their fastest rate in 3 years.
     
  • Deutsche Boerse CEO Carsten Kengeter says the allegations of insider trading will turn out to be unfounded.
     
    Speaking to shareholders at the company's AGM, the CEO said the company is fully cooperating with the public prosecutor's office, according to a Reuters reports.
     
    Meanwhile, Carsten added that there are no big mergers on the agenda following the failure of the LSE deal. He said acquisitions and parternships are still possible and the company plans to enhance and expand its data business.
  • Sotheby's has sold the world's most expensive pair of earrings for almost $58 million.
     
    The two pear-shaped stones are perfectly similar except for their colour: one is pink while the other is blue. Sotheby's chief auctioneer declined to identify the buyer
     
    Tobias Kormind, managing director at 77Diamonds.com, says the stones themselves are extremely unique.
     
    Coloured diamonds are incredibly rare, and when you’ve got a vivid blue, which is internally flawless, which is one of two stones, we’re talking about the third most expensive blue ever sold at auction and the pink was number 10 on the most expensive stone list.
     
    What we’re seeing now is an influx of wealthy buyers looking for alternative asset classes and they’re going for these extremely rare stones.
     
     
  • Euro zone April CPI inflation grew 0.4 percent on the month, 1.9 percent on the year.
     
    This matched forecasts. Core CPI grew 0.5 percent on the month and 1.2 percent on the year.
  • The euro ticked a little higher against the dollar following the release of April inflation figures for the Euro zone.
     
    The common currency earlier hit its highest level since November 9th, climbing above $1.11 overnight.
     
     
  • Eurozone inflation rose back to 1.9 percent in April, from a three-month low of 1.5 percent in March. This is in line with the ECB's target of close to, but below, 2 percent inflation.
     
    However, Howard Archer, chief U.K. and European economist at IHS Markit, thinks the central bank is unlikely to make any policy changes in relation to the news.
     
    The ECB is highly unlikely to read too much into April’s sharp rise in core inflation as it was clearly lifted by Easter timing distortions. The April/March swings in Eurozone consumer price inflation - both the headline rate and the core rate - were influenced substantially by pricing distortions resulting from the fact that Easter occurred in mid-April in 2017 compared to late-March in 2016.
     
    In particular, prices for air and sea transport, package holidays and hotels tend to rise around Easter, so these increased in March 2016 but did not rise until April this year. Significantly, services inflation spiked to 1.8% in April after moderating to 1.0% in March from 1.3% in February.
  • U.S. stock market futures remain downbeat, as a risk-off trade sweeps through markets. Future values predict a triple-digit fall at the open for the Dow. 
     
     
    Meanwhile, uncertainty over the future of President Trump's economic reforms is hitting the dollar index.
     
    The index is down around 4 basis points. Here's how the greenback is faring against several major currencies.
     
     
  • British Finance Minister Philip Hammond has said inflation moves in the UK will be transient. 
     
    Currently, the UK inflation stands at  2.7 percent year-on-year in April of 2017, following a 2.3 percent rise in each of the previous two months and above market expectations of 2.6 percent.
     
     
  • The U.K. unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent in April, the lowest since 1975. Meanwhile, average earnings growth for Q1 excluding bonuses came to 2.1 percent, lower than the previous reading of 2.2 percent.
     
    Kallum Pickering, senior U.K. economist at Berenberg, says the U.K. labour market looks healthy.
     
    The uncertainty from the Brexit vote has not impacted labour demand in a serious way. Instead, firms continue to raise the size of their workforces in response to the healthy domestic expansion and improving global backdrop. The key highlights from the March jobs report are as follows:
     
    (1) the U.K. added 122,000 jobs on a 3m/3m basis 
    (2) unemployment fell to 4.6 percent - the lowest since 1975
    (3) employment rose to 74.8 percent - a record high
    (4) the number of job vacancies (the key measure of labour demand) was the highest on record at 777,000.
     
    Kallum expects real GDP to increase by 1.9 percent in 2017 and 1.7 percent in 2018. Also, he thinks the Bank of England is progressing towards its first interest rate hike in years, although the weakness in wage growth will hold it for now.
  • Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May says the U.K.'s most important defence and security relations is with the U.S.
     
    She says the U.K. continues to share intelligence with the U.S. and working with the U.S. and other on the terrorist threat is important for maintaining national security.
  • Britain's Prime Minister says the ruling Conservative Party will present its election manifesto tomorrow on Thursday.
     
    This comes the day after the opposition Labour Party unveiled its manifesto. Key proposals included raising corporation tax and higher-rate income tax, in order to support increased spending on schools, hospitals and infrastructure development.
  • U.K. household incomes are being squeezed as inflation starts to outpace wage growth, according to Maike Currie, investment director for personal investing at Fidelity International
     
    As each month rolls by we’ll be getting progressively poorer as the wages we are earning struggle to keep up with the prices of the goods and services we consume. Given that consumer spending remains the backbone of the U.K. economy, this is bad news for economic growth.   

    Many have pointed to wage growth as the ‘missing piece of the puzzle’. While there are more people employed in this country than ever before, the problem is that our wages are increasing at a glacial pace.
     
    That’s why we need our savings and investments to work even harder - rising inflation coupled with lower-for-longer interest rates, means savers are losing out in the long term if they’re leaving their money languishing in cash. This matters massively, as workers wait for that elusive pay rise.
  • The Nigerian government has announced it expects a $7.5 billion deficit in 2017.
     
    The country plans to raise $4 billion in its domestic debt market and $3.5 billion in foreign loans and eurobonds in order to fund the deficit.
  • Italy's transport minister minister says he is disappointed by the EU's plans to launch a legal action against the country over its handling of Fiat Chrysler's emissions-test cheating.
     
    The minister says he has not received any requests for further information after the EU mediation over the issue. The minister, Graziano Delrio, says he has asked the EU Commission to postpone launching the legal action against Rome.
     
    Shares in Fiat Chrysler are down more than 1 percent today on the news.
     
     
     
     
  • U.S. stock market future point down today. The Dow is expected to wipe out a month of gains with a triple-digit loss at the market open, according to future values.
     
     
    The S&P 500 is expected to drop 0.5 percent. It has moved 0.5 percent for 15 days, the most since 1969.
  • Stock market futures are under pressure on Wednesday. European and Asian markets are also trading lower, and the Dow Jones index was expected to suffer a triple-digit loss.
     
    Markets are concerned by reports that President Donald Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey in February to end the agency's investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. That's according to an article from the New York Times.  
     
    NBC News has confirmed that Comey wrote a two-page memo detailing the conversation immediately following the meeting. The White House has denied Comey's version of the events saying "the president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation."
     
     
    Today's market reaction represents investor concern that there are too many obstacles in the way of President Trump achieving his financial and economic reforms.
     
    U.S. futures are now in triple-digit loss territory.
     
     
  • Earlier today, data was released showing Euro zone inflation grew 1.9 percent year-over-year in April, from a three-month low of 1.5 percent in March.
     
    Claus Vistesen, chief Eurozone economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, says the inflation figure was flattered by Easter and will dip in May.
     
    A big increase in services inflation to 1.8 percent, from 1.0 percent in March, was the key driving force of the rebound in EZ inflation pressures. The services rate, however, was flattered by the late Easter, which boosted inflation of airfares and package holidays. We expect the rate of increase in the services CPI will fall back to its underlying trend of 1.3 percent in May.
     
    Inflation in non-energy industrial goods was unchanged at 0.3 percent, but should edge higher in coming months in response to higher producer price inflation in manufacturing goods.
     
    Core inflation lags in the Eurozone, and we think it will increase to about 1.4 percent toward the end of the year.
     
    Claus predicts inflation will fall back to 1.5 percent in May, due to small declines in energy and food inflation.
     
    Despite the rise in inflation, the euro is struggling today, falling against several major currencies.
     
     
  • Apple is to offer a two-part potential euro-denominated bond, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
     
    The iPhone maker will market a dual-tranche senior trade split between an eight-year at mid-swaps plus 45 to 50bp and a 12-year at swaps plus 60 to 65bp, according to a Reuters report.
     
    The company is looking to benefit from Europe's corporate bond market, which has been boosted by the ECB's corporate bond purchase programme and the election of Emmanuel Macron in France: 23.2 billion euros have flowed into the market following his election which was seen as removing political risk.
     
    Apple shares are called slightly lower in pre-market trade.
     
     
  • Target shares are up sharply in premarket trade after reporting its latest results.
     
    First quarter comparable sales decreased 1.3 percent, less than expected. Quarterly sales came to $16.017 billion. The company said it expects a low single digit decline in comparable sales for the full year.
     
     
  • Here's what to expect from U.S. markets today.
     
    At 11:00 a.m. ET, we'll get the New York Fed household credit and debt report for the first quarter.
     
    On the earnings front, Tencent, American Eagle Outfitters and Qiwi are set to report before the bell. We've already had Target's Q1 results.
     
    After the bell, Cisco, L Brands, Synopsys and ZTO Express are expected to report.
  • Qiwi reports Q1 adjusted earnings per share of 20.76 rubles.
     
    The Russian payment provider reported Q1 net revenue increase 16 percent to 2,905 million rubles ($51.5 million).
     
    Shares in the company are called 2 percent higher in U.S. premarket trade on the results.
     
     
     
  • European markets continue to trade lower. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index is down almost 0.3 percent.
     
    Here's how the major European bourses are looking.
     
     
    Markets are cooling following reports President Trump may have tried to interfere in the FBI investigation into Mike Flynn. This latest scandal further puts his plans for economic and fiscal reforms on hold, disappointing investors who had high expectations for his plans for tax cuts and infrastructure spending.
  • Data released this morning showed U.K. employment rose, but wage growth disappointed. 
     
    Barclays analysts Andrzej Szczepaniak and Fabrice Montagne say they expect real wage growth to deteriorate over the course of 201, but says the end of Q1 was good for employment and job creation.
     
    Total employment in March rose by 112,000, the highest number since April 2014. As for the underlying detail with regard to contract types, it was driven almost purely by full-time permanent employees.
     
    The sudden firming of full-time permanent employees could be explained by firms looking to frontload employment, given that the government obtained parliamentary approval to enact Article 50 (the trigger of the two-year negotiation period) which was triggered on 13 March 2017, and it appears that the government could restrict migration and hence limit firms flexibility to hire workers down the line.
     
    Furthermore, based on the latest Bank of England Agents Report, where employment expectations continue to improve (Figure 3), we could see some further firming over the coming months. 
     
    The FTSE 100 is currently flat. The U.K. bluechip index is performing better than some other European markets, including the German DAX and French CAC 40.
     
     
  • The Stoxx 600 remains lower at the mid-day point, but here are the best and worst performers on the index.
     
    Click or tap on the arrows to switch between slides.
     
     
  • Mortgage volumes in the United States fell 4.1 percent last week. Highlights: 

    • Younger buyers tailed off.
    • Purchase applications dropped 3 percent.
    • Refinance volume also declined.
    As rates remain higher and home prices continue to rise, more borrowers are reportedly choosing adjustable rate mortgages, which offer lower interest rates. ARM volume is now up 24 percent from a year ago.
     
    The data showed that the US average 30-year mortgage rate was unchanged at 4.23 percent in the week to May 12.
     
     
  • U.S. stock index futures have improved over the last hour or so but still point to a lower open on as traders factor in the political turmoil involving U.S. President Donald Trump.
     
     
  • Russian president Vladimir Putin has come out in defense of his counterpart Donald Trump.
     
    Putin has said that Trump is not being allowed to work properly, an anti-Russian feeling in the United States is damaging the relationship between the countries and that is ready to provide a recording of the recent meeting with Foreign minister Sergey Lavrobv that shows Trump did not reveal classified information.
  • Ford says it plans to cut ten percent of its salaried workforce in North America and Asia.
     
    Ford is the second-largest U.S.-based automaker and employs about 213,000 employees worldwide.
     
     
  •  
    It's not just zero's and one's anymore.
     
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    Martin Fraenkel, President of S&P Global Platts has been looking at the global picture for steel:
     
    -   In the US, sentiment is mostly driving steel – in large part to the pro-business, industry-friendly administration of President Donald Trump. The new president has requested a so-called Section 232 investigation to determine whether national security is threatened by steel and aluminum imports. US-made steel sheet prices averaged nearly $640/short ton since Trump took office. (Vs $598 during Obama’s administration)
     
    Steel production at US Steel in Gary, Indiana.
    -    In Asia, China’s monthly crude steel output in April rose to a new record high of 72.78 mt. The government’s crackdown on induction furnace capacity and a dip in iron ore costs boosted output. Note that recent US-China agreement doesn’t impact steel – and China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ will see impact in the longer term and is more a political show of strength rather than anything concrete today.
     

    -    In Europe, the outlook overall remains stronger for steelmakers than in recent years. Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel producer, just reported its best quarterly performance since Q2 2012. M&A has picked up, with Liberty acquiring steel-making operations in the UK. There is ongoing chatter of a potential ThyssenKrupp-Tata Steel tie up.
  • Chelsea Manning has been freed after seven years in prison.
     
    She was imprisoned after being convicted by court-martial in July 2013, of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses.
     
    She was granted a pardon by U.S. president Barack Obama.
     
    Chelsea Manning is the transgender US soldier formerly known as Bradley Manning.
     
  • European stocks are lower in trade as we move firmly in to the afternoon. 
     
     
    Autos were among the worst performing sectors on Wednesday. Fiat Chrysler 's stock fell the most after Reuters reported in the previous session that the European Union would begin legal action against Italy for not policing allegations of emission test cheating by the car maker. Its shares moved lower at the open in Europe but have somewhat recovered slightly, currently trading 0.7 percent lower.

    Financial services stocks were also down on concerns that U.S. President Donald Trump may not pursue his pro-growth agenda.
     
     
  • Too much money? Too much stuff? Bored?
     
    Easy, cover your stuff in gold!
  • U.S. 10-Year Treasury yields have fallen to a level not seen since late April.
     
    The U.S. sovereign paper is reportedly being bought as a reaction to concern over President Trump's request that the ex-FBI chief James Comey end an investigation in to former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
     
     
  •  
    Is this the market's biggest fear?
     

    Jack Welch: Impeachment of Trump would 'blow the market away'

    Jack Welch also says Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey was a "rookie mistake."
  • After weeks of inactivity, te markets are finally rousing.
  • Shares in French utility EDF are falling after the announcement that green activist Nicolas Hulot is to be France's new Ecology minister.
     
     
     
  • These are the biggest winners and losers on the Dow Jones. Financials appear to be bearing the biggest brunt of the wider flight to safety.
     
     
     
  • Obstruction of justice and loose talk of Trump impeachment may be hurting markets but some corporate news breaking through. Target Q1 results were much better than expected and the retailer is at the top of the S&P 500.
     
     
     
  • U.S. stocks suffering their biggest fall in nearly two months at the start of trade today, but the trend has been upward over a 30 day period.
     
     
  • Goldman Sachs is now the biggest drag on the Dow Jones and is more than 3 percent lower in trade.
     
     
  • The House Speaker in the United States, Pual Ryan has said in regards to a "Comey memo" that "we need the facts" before rushing to judgment.
     
    The memo, reportedly written by fired FBI Director James Comey after February 14 meeting with Donald Trump, describes the president asking him to drop his Mike Flynn probe.
  • That is a visual representation of all three U.S. indices this week.
     
     
    In other news, U.S. stocks of oil fell by 1.75 million barrels versus predictions of a 2.4 million barrel draw.
     
    The total stock level is currently 520.77 million. Futures for both WTI and Brent have gained on the news.
     
     
  • Europe's Stoxx 600 is presently on course for its worst day in 8 months.
     
     
  •  
    Markets in Europe are closed for the day. The main bourses look like this.
     
     
  • So as we close the blog today, the European Stoxx 600 has provisionally closed down 1.3 percent. The Dow Jones is still down by triple digits. Join us gain tomorrow as we look at how the U.S. sell off finished up and what that meant for Asian trade. We will be live from 06:00 a.m. London time.
     
     
     
     
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