It’s ex-dividend day in London, but few generous payers, so nothing to shift markets significantly. It was slow going in the Far East, too, as few traders fancy opening new positions ahead of China’s ‘Golden Week’ of public holidays.
The dial-moving stuff is happening on Wall Street where the S&P 500 just hit another record high. Tax reforms unveiled by Donald Trump 10 months late could have a significant positive impact on US corporate earnings.
That’s good for the dollar and would certainly help solve the market’s valuation problem, but don’t bet on Trump getting his way here. If he does get tax changes through, it’s likely they’ll bear little resemblance to this first draft.
Sterling continues to unwind Carney-inspired gains made earlier this month. Yesterday’s strong UK retail sales data has had no lasting effect on the pound, and there’s still plenty of debate over whether Bank of England hawks can convince the rest that inflation is a bigger threat than Brexit.
And Brexit could have further impact Thursday as a fourth round of negotiations with EU officials winds down.
But every cloud! The pound at a two-week low against the greenback is a clear boon for a FTSE 100 packed with firms making most of their money in expensive dollars and other foreign currencies.
Bank governor Mark Carney’s speech, celebrating 20 years of Bank of England independence, did nothing to raise the chances of a rate hike in November, removing another prop for the pound.
“We will continue to assess and express our independent assessment of the risks associated with Brexit'” he said. “We will also use all our powers, consistent with our remits, to mitigate those risks and to smooth the adjustment to new opportunities.”
That implies any increase in interest rates will be modest at best.
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