Top 5 Things to Know in the Market on Friday

Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Friday, July 13:

1. JP Morgan kicks off Q2 earnings season

Wall Street’s second-quarter earnings season unofficially kicks off on Friday with JP Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) releasing its results at approximately 7:00 AM ET (11:00 GMT).

Citigroup (NYSE:C) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) will follow up with their own earnings at approximately 8:00 AM (12:00 GMT).

Q2 earnings growth is tipped to be 20.7% according to Thomson Reuters data, moderating slightly from a gain of 26.6% the first-quarter, which was the highest in seven years when results were boosted by tax-cut tailwinds.

However, the season is being clouded by trade tensions and their impact on corporate profits, with analysts likely to scrutinize outlook statements to see whether to adjust numbers for the rest of 2018.

2. U.S. stocks little changed ahead of bank earnings

U.S. futures pointed to a higher open on Friday as concerns over trade tensions faded to the background and investors looked forward to the start of the second-quarter earnings season.

At 5:55 AM ET (9:55 GMT), the blue-chip Dow futures slipped 11 points, or 0.04%, S&P 500 futures dropped 2 points, or 0.08%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures traded down 3 points, or 0.03%.

China’s vice foreign minister Zhang Jun said on Friday that the U.S.’s accusations against China on trade were groundless and that Washington’s actions are not supported by the international community.

His comments came after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday that he and the administration are “available” for discussion, but China must first agree to deeper economic reforms.

“To the extent that China wants to make structural changes, I and the administration are available,” Mnuchin said on Thursday. “We are not advocating tariffs. We are advocating fair trade.”

China’s Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen also said on Thursday “when we have a trade problem, we should talk about it.”

Elsewhere, European shares moved higher nearing midday trade on Friday, and looked set for a second week of gains as fears of a full-blown trade war were kept in check and optimism about the next corporate earnings season grew.

Earlier, Asian stock markets closed mostly higher on Friday, although China’s Shanghai Composite remained under pressure as the Chinese trade surplus with the U.S. hit a record in June, underlining concerns about how U.S. President Donald Trump will react to the data.

3. Cable falls as Trump Bashes May’s Brexit plan

The pound fell against the dollar on Friday after Trump suggested that UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to exit the European Union would likely make any type of U.S.-British trade deal unfeasible.

“If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal,” Trump said on Friday in an interview with Sun.

GBP/USD fell 0.54% to 1.3133 by 5:57 AM ET (9:57 GMT).

Meanwhile, the dollar continued its bullish run for a fifth consecutive session as investors looked ahead to University of Michigan’s preliminary measure of July consumer sentiment at 10:00 AM ET (14:00 GMT).

At 5:57AM ET (9:57GMT), the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, gained 0.29% at 94.84.

4. China trade surplus with U.S. Hits Record

China’s monthly trade surplus with the U.S. rose to a record in June and exports to the nation also soared, underlining the cause of an escalating trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

Chinese imports to U.S. ports rose more than expected in June, with analysts commenting that buying may have been boosted given the threat of impending tariffs.

The trade surplus with the U.S. was $28.97 billion, a record in data back to 1999. Exports climbed to $42.62 billion, also a historic high.

5. Oil prices head for weekly loss ahead of U.S. production data

Oil prices headed lower in early morning trade on Friday as investors looked ahead to Baker Hughes’ weekly data on U.S. production. The number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by five to 863 last week.

Although that was the first increase in three weeks, the U.S. rig count, an early indicator of future output, is much higher than a year ago when 763 rigs were active as energy companies have been ramping up production in tandem with OPEC’s past efforts to cut global output over the past year-and-a-half.

U.S. crude oil futures lost 0.44% to $70.02 at 5:58AM ET (9:58GMT), while Brent oilfell 1.17% to $73.58.

Both barrels were on track for weekly losses of more than 4% as investors focused this week on the return of Libyan oil to the market amid concerns about a China-U.S. trade war.

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