The major US equity indices were generally lower after a subdued day of trading Tuesday, as investors prepared for the upcoming release of inflation numbers for April and the outcome of debt-ceiling negotiations that, between them, will shape expectations for inflation, interest rates, and equity market volatility.  Meantime, European shares consolidated losses in afternoon trading yesterday, with the Euro Stoxx 50 down 0.6%. 

Summary for 0.105.2023 

  • Most Asian equities sank on Wednesday as markets hunkered down before key US consumer inflation data due later in the day, with Chinese bourses down for a second session after disappointing trade readings.  Losses in China spilt over into markets with big trade exposure to the country, with Hong Kong’s Hang index down 0.6%, while the Taiwan Weighted index and South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.8% and 0.1%, respectively.  Australia’s ASX 200 index also lost 0.3% on this notion, as losses in China-exposed mining shares weighed.  
  • European markets head for positive open while US equity futures are seen flat in the early hours of Wednesday as investors await key inflation data out of the US later in the day. 
  • Oil prices crept lower in early Asian trade this morning as industry data pointed to an unexpected build in US crude inventories, while anticipation of key US inflation data later in the day kept markets on edge.  Crude prices were sitting on strong gains this week as easing fears of a US banking crisis helped markets stem a three-week rout.  Reports that the White House plans to begin replenishing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve – which was drawn to 40-year lows over the past year – also sent buy signals to markets. 
  • US President Joe Biden and congressional Republicans made little tangible progress Tuesday toward averting a first-ever US default but pledged negotiations on spending that would open the door to a possible agreement.  Biden and congressional leaders, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, are set to meet again Friday.  The intensified talks could at least temporarily assuage markets before 1st June when Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned the nation risks exhausting its ability to meet all payment obligations. 
  • A US gauge of Economic Optimism dropped 5.8 points to 41.6 in May, the lowest level since November and significantly below market expectations of 48.2.  The latest reading was also lower than April’s 16-month high of 47.4 and has been pessimistic for the past 21 months.  The outlook for the US economy for the next six months declined by 7 points to 34.6, the worst level since November. 
  • Ryanair yesterday announced that it had placed an order for up to 300 of Boeing’s 737 MAX 10 jets, bringing an end to years of negotiations between the two companies.  The deal, made up of 150 firm orders with options for another 150 jets, is worth up to $40 billion at current list prices.  The new jets are set to be delivered between 2027 and 2033 and will pave the way for the low-cost carrier to nearly double its traffic from 168 million now, to 300 million by March 2034. 
  • Airbnb said Tuesday that it earned $117 million in the first quarter as revenue rose during the ongoing recovery in travel, but the company’s outlook for late spring and early summer disappointed investors.  The weak outlook overshadowed Airbnb’s first profit in the first three months of the year, a seasonally slow period for travel.  Shares fell nearly 12% in extended trading hours.