StockMarketNews.Today — Here are the top five things you need to know about in financial markets on Wednesday, 4th September:
1. Hong Kong leader to withdraw controversial bill
Carrie Lam, the head of Hong Kong’s legislative council, will formally withdraw a controversial draft bill that was the initial spark for what has now become over three months of increasingly intense protests.
The bill, which would have allowed for the extradition of Hong Kong citizens to the Chinese mainland for trial, is to be withdrawn within the next 24 hours, the South China Morning Post reported, followed by Reuters.
However, it wasn’t clear from the report whether Lam had either sought or received Beijing’s approval for pulling the bill. Beijing has been massing troops and paramilitary police on the other side of the border in neighboring Shenzhen, and threatened earlier this week that it reserved the right to declare a state of emergency.
2. Sterling surges as Brexit opponents defeat Johnson
Sterling rose by more than 0.6% against the dollar and 0.3% against the euro after lawmakers moved to reduce the risk of a disorderly Brexit.
British lawmakers will vote on a bill that would delay the U.K.’s departure from the EU until Jan. 31. The bill was made possible by a vote late on Tuesday in which opponents of a “No-Deal” Brexit wrested control of the parliamentary agenda from the government.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson signaled he will call for a snap general election after losing control of the Brexit process to opponents of a disorderly “no-deal” departure from the European Union. However, for that, he needs the support of two-thirds of lawmakers. After ejecting 21 rebels from his own party benches last night, Johnson no longer has any sort of majority in the House of Commons.
Sterling’s gains were capped by the awareness that another general election, which would be the third in four years, would be no guarantee of a decisive majority in parliament for any Brexit outcome.
3. Wall Street set to open higher
U.S. stock markets are indicated to open sharply higher on the back of the Hong Kong news, rebounding after data released on Tuesday suggested that activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector had started to contract in August.
By 6 AM ET (1000 GMT), Dow futures and the S&P 500 Futures contract were both up 0.8%, and the Nasdaq 100 futures contract was up 1.1%. Hong Kong’s stock market rose by the most since 2011, pulling European markets higher with it.
In addition to the news from Hong Long and London, European and Asian stocks were also helped by purchasing manager surveys showing that services activity remained broadly stable in August, despite the continued weakness of global manufacturing.
4. Fed, Fed, Fed – and others
It’s a heavy day for central banks worldwide, with Federal Reserve officials rushing to get their views on the record before the pre-FOMC news blackout starts.
First up is New York Fed president John Williams at 9:25 AM ET, followed by Michelle Bowman and James Bullard at separate events at 12:30 PM ET, Minneapolis Fed president Neal Kashkari at 1 PM and Chicago Fed president Charles Evans at 3:15 PM.
Overseas, ECB president-designate Christine Lagarde is currently answering questions from the European Parliament, while Bank of England head Mark Carney is also due before a U.K. parliamentary committee.
The Bank of Canada will hold its regular policy meeting later.
5. Oil bounces on macro hopes, Saudi export data
The American Petroleum Institute will release its weekly estimate of U.S. crude stocks at 4:30 PM ET (20:30 GMT), against a backdrop of growing fears for global demand due to the escalation of the U.S.-China trade war and the start of hurricane season.
The U.S. government’s official data are due Thursday, a day later than usual, owing to the Labor Day holiday.
Crude oil prices, which fell by nearly $2 a barrel on Tuesday, have recovered around half of those losses overnight, helped in part by the boost to risk sentiment from the news in Hong Kong and the U.K. By 6 AM, the U.S. benchmark blend WTI was at $54.24 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent was at $54.48.
Additional support came from official data showing that Saudi Arabian crude exports fell to a 22-month low of 6.72 million barrels a day in August, allaying some fears that the OPEC+ group of producers may be losing its discipline.