Fast Europe Open: He said, Xi said

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Brush up on your Photoshop and meme skills; today is the day Xi Jinping, China’s president, will meet Donald Trump in Florida at his Palm Beach resort. Photographer’s field day at the very least.

With US-China relations spanning such a broad suite of issues, there’s plenty for global investors to pay attention to.

And wedged between the minutes, yesterday, from the Federal Reserve’s March meeting and Friday’s US jobs report, it is isn’t too surprising traders have headed to the sidelines.

Japan’s Topix is down 1.6 per cent, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 is off 0.5 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has dropped 0.6 per cent. China’s Shanghai Composite is up 0.1 per cent at a four-month high.

Futures tip London’s FTSE 100 to drop 0.9 per cent today and the for the S&P 500 to slide 0.2 per cent.

During the Asian trading day, the yen hit a five-month high, data showed growth of China’s services sector slowed in the March quarter,, the Asian Development Bank predicted the region’s growth would counter a slowdown in China and business conditions in Hong Kong stagnated during the March quarter.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve‘s March meeting included discussion about how the US central bank might start the process of reducing its $4.5tn balance sheet. Some analysts said the Fed did not provide a clear path, and admittedly it may still be too early to be laying out firm guidelines. US Treasuries were stronger in Asian trade, though.

Companies delivering earnings today include Mothercare. Here is the economic diary (London times):

  • 07.00: Germany factory orders
  • 08.00: ECB’s Mario Draghi speaking in Frankfurt
  • 08.15: Switzerland inflation
  • 10.00: Greece unemployment
  • 10.00: Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann in Berlin
  • 12.30: ECB minutes
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