An Economic Fork in the Road

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Economic Breaker Panel Update: An Economy at a Fork in the Road

Global markets are trading with a moderate risk-off tone this morning as the trade war weighs on sentiment.

It remains unclear whether the U.S. will offer relief on existing tariffs as part of the “phase one” trade deal with China (which has been priced into stocks in recent weeks), or just cancel the scheduled December tariffs, which would be a disappointment.

Meanwhile, on the economic front, Eurozone Industrial Production was largely overlooked because of trade angst but the release was not as bad as feared (0.1% vs. E: -0.3%) further easing recession concerns in Europe.

There were other headlines overnight including escalating protests in Hong Kong which saw the Hang Seng underperform (down nearly 2%) and chatter about the public impeachment hearings in Washington today but neither are materially affecting U.S. stocks at this point as the market’s main focus remains the trade war.

Looking into today’s session, there is one economic report to watch: CPI (E: 0.3%) before focus will turn to Powell’s testimony before Congress on the state of the economy at 11:00 a.m. ET. Later in the day, there are two other Fed officials scheduled to speak before the closing bell: Barkin (12:30 p.m. ET) and Kashkari (1:30 p.m. ET).

Bottom line, there are a lot of headlines this morning but the trade war remains the single most important influence on this market so if expectations for tariff removal continue to fade, stocks are likely to trade with a heavy tone.