Investing.com -- More and more signs that a "phase-1" deal with China is closing in, plus a positive surprise from Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) but more gloom from Europe's forecasters and companies. Disney reports earnings after the closing bell, while the Bank of England gets to grips again with the old problems of political uncertainty and their impact on the U.K. economy. Here's what you need to know in financial markets on Thursday, 7th November.
1. China upbeat on tariff rollback
China’s Ministry of Commerce said it has agreed in principle with the U.S. to cut import tariffs on each other’s products as part of a “phase-1” deal to de-escalate the trade dispute.
“If China, U.S. reach a phase-one deal, both sides should roll back existing additional tariffs in the same proportion simultaneously based on the content of the agreement, which is an important condition for reaching the agreement,” Bloomberg quoted spokesman Gao Feng as saying.
The comments are the clearest sign yet that the most economically damaging aspect of the trade dispute could be mitigated in the near term, albeit the U.S. still hasn’t confirmed the Chinese version of the situation. The yuan strengthened further below 7 to the dollar.
Elsewhere Thursday, China also publicly sentenced nine people to jail for illegally selling the drug Fentanyl to U.S. buyers, in a nod to one of Washington’s other big concerns.
2. Qualcomm's earnings surprise
Chipmaker Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) said the trade dispute didn’t hit its performance in the most recent quarter quite as badly as feared, publishing stronger-than-expected earnings and revenue numbers after the closing bell on Wednesday that sent the company’s shares up 3% in after-hours trading.
Revenue fell to $4.8 billion in the three months through September, down $1 billion from a year earlier but still $100 million ahead of forecasts, while pro forma earnings per share fell by 12% to 78 cents. Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) was and still aspires to be a major supplier to Huawei. The U.S. government has promised that it will “very shortly” issue licenses to some of the 260 companies that have applied for exemptions to the ban on sales to the telecoms giant
3. Stocks set for higher open
U.S. stock futures are all indicated higher in the wake of the news out of China overnight, shrugging off signs of ongoing global weakness visible in European data and company reports.
By 6:25 AM T (1125 GMT), Dow futures were up 149 points, or 0.5%, while S&P 500 Futures and Nasdaq 100 futures were both up 0.5%
Today’s earnings highlight is Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), which reports after the closing bell. Analysts are forecasting earnings per share of 95c on $19.29 billion in revenue.
4. Europe stuck in a growth rut
The European Union Commission cut its forecasts for growth and inflation, warning that the worst may still be ahead for the euro zone economy.
The Commission said growth will stay sluggish through 2021, at a forecast 1.2%, while it expects inflation to stay around 1.3%, well below the European Central Bank’s target of just under 2%.
It also implied it expects no major fiscal stimulus from Germany and the Netherlands, the two major eurozone countries with the strongest sovereign balance sheets.
Elsewhere in Europe Thursday, Germany's industrial production fell by more than expected in September, while industrial bellwether Siemens (DE:SIEGn) issued a gloomy forecast for the coming fiscal year; shares in ArcelorMittal (AS:MT), the world’s biggest steelmaker, fell after missing forecasts and cutting its estimates for global steel demand next year.
5. BoE to update on Brexit, election risks to economy
The Bank of England’s monetary policy committee is due to announce the results of its latest meeting at 7 AM ET (1200 GMT).
While the committee is expected to leave interest rates unchanged again, there are expectations for clearer guidance towards lowering them in view of the global economic slowdown and the sustained deterioration in domestic conditions due to the endless uncertainty over Brexit.
That uncertainty has been compounded by the announcement of snap elections for Dec. 12. Opinion polls suggest Boris Johnson’s Conservatives will be the biggest party in the new parliament, but their ability to form a majority will depend on the vagaries of the first-past-the-post electoral system. Parties opposing Brexit earlier Thursday announced a formal electoral pact aimed at maximizing the chances of anti-Brexit candidates.