Politics and geopolitical issues continued to dominate the market. In Washington the turmoil in the Trump administration continued. A number of Republicans sent a letter to the FBI and Justice department asking for the memos written by James Comey. They threatened to impeach the new FBI director, Christopher Wray and the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein.
On Thursday, the Justice Department, fearing subpoenas released the memos that showed his experience with the president. Meanwhile, the former FBI director continued his book tour, making appearances in all the major television networks.
During the week, it emerged that the preparations were underway for the meeting between the United States and North Korea. It was reported – and later confirmed – that the CIA director, Mike Pompeo had travelled to Pyongyang talk to Kim Jong Un. This was a positive development for the US, North Korea, and for the world. As you can recall, the North Korean issue was one of the major geopolitical risk just a year ago.
In Florida, the president met with Japan’s Prime Minister, Abe. The meeting came at an interesting time for the relationship between the two countries. Early in his presidency, the president cancelled the Obama-era trade policy known as the Transpacific Partnership. This was a large deal that opened the markets with many Transpacific countries. Obama’s administration created the deal as a way to combat China. Recently, Trump has talked about his plan to rejoin the deal. In his meeting with the prime minister, the president talked back his pro-TPP stance.
During the week, the earning season continued with excellent performance. On Monday, Bank of America reported that its quarterly revenues increased to $27.12 billion compared with the $23.06B the analysts were expecting. They reported an EPS of $0.62 versus $0.59. On the same day, Netflix reported that it added more than 6 million customers during the quarter. Other major companies that announced their earnings were: Johnson and Johnson, P&G, CSX, and Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs announced revenues of more than $10 billion compared to the estimated $8.7 billion.
One of the biggest winners during the week was crude oil. Brent is currently trading near $74 while WTI is trading at almost $69 a barrel. The surge came as the data from the EIA showed that crude stocks were declining. In addition, Saudi Arabia released a statement calling for an $80 oil. In a meeting in Saudi Arabia, the oil minister predicted that the deal with Russia on production cuts will continue.
This week, on economic data, we received inflation data from major countries. The ONS released CPI data showed that the country’s inflation fell to the lowest level in one year. It rose by 2.5%, which was the lowest level since March last year. In the EU, Eurostats data showed that the region’s CPI was stable. As such, the EUR/GBP pair was one of a major mover because the data from the UK removed the urgency for BOE to increase interest rates. In New Zealand, the country’s inflation remained constant.
It was a good week for the cryptocurrencies which had major gains during the week. Ripple, Ethereum, and Litecoin had double digit gains during the week while bitcoin moved up by about 4%. These gains were attributed to the ending of the tax season which experts believe will draw more investors to cryptocurrencies.