US stocks closed mixed as the Nasdaq set a fresh record closing high led by strong gains in tech stocks fronted by Apple, while industrials have weighed on the DJIA, with heavy losses seen in Boeing, Caterpillar and United Technologies. In fixed, Treasuries nudged higher although there was not much reaction to the second of Monday’s note auction, the US Treasury sold $21.0 Bln of 10-year notes to yield 2.889% (WI: 2.889%). In currency space, the USD index ebbed lower while Sterling maintained a modest bid. Staying in the UK, PM May said it is highly likely that Russia were behind the poisoning of a former Russian spy. Elsewhere, ECB President Draghi told EU Finance Ministers that conditions have been met to begin talks to move to the first phase of common bank deposit insurance. US crude futures settled at $61.36 (-$0.68).
Following the US close, Senior Republican Committee member Conaway said the US House Intelligence Committee are ending the interview phase of Trump-Russia probe, adding the panel found no evidence of collusion between Trump campaign and Russian meddling in 2016’s US election. Meanwhile, top US House Intelligence Committee Democrat Schiff called the Republican decision to call time on Russia interviews a capitulation to Trump, adding clear and overwhelming evidence backs intelligence communities findings that Russia sought to boost Trump in the 2016 US election. Elsewhere, US President Trump issued an order that says Broadcom’s proposed takeover of Qualcomm is prohibited. The order said any acquisition, merger or takeover substantially equivalent to proposed Broadcom-Qualcomm is also prohibited.
Before the open in Asia, New Zealand food prices declined 0.5% m/m in February, while Australia’s weekly consumer confidence index fell to 116.0. Meanwhile, Kyodo reported that Japanese Finance Minister Aso is considering not attending the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires this month.
Amid the re-emergence of global trade war fears, Asian stocks traded mostly in the red. Data wise, Japan’s PPI was flat (f/c +0.2%) m/m in February and rose 2.5%, as expected, y/y. Down under, Australian NAB business confidence fell to +9 in February, while conditions jumped to +21, its highest on record. Meanwhile, Aussie home loans fell 1.1% (f/c -0.2%) m/m in January. There were also remarks from RBNZ acting Governor Spencer, who said the Bank are to review macroprudential policies with the Treasury. Elsewhere, a Chinese parliament document suggested it is to merge its insurance and banking regulators. Stateside, following earlier comments from the House Intel Committee, US President Trump tweeted the House Intelligence Committee has, after a 14-month long in-depth investigation, found no evidence of collusion or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 Presidential election. In other news, Australia sold A$150 Mln 0.75% 2027 bonds at an average yield of +0.82%, bid-to-cover 3.07.
Looking ahead, at 06:30 GMT, we get French non-farm payrolls, followed by Spanish CPI at 08:00 GMT. Next at 09:00 GMT, we get Italian unemployment, followed by US NFIB small business optimism at 10:00 GMT. Also of note, Italy sells €9.0-11.0 Bln 2020, 2025, 2033 & 2047 BTPs at 10:00 GMT and the UK Government Spring budget is due at 11:30 GMT.