Global equities were broadly flat–to-lower ahead of the second day of the FOMC’s policy meeting, where the Fed is expected to leave interest rates unchanged at 0.25-0.5%. As ever, there’ll be much interest in the bank’s statement for what it indicates for future decisions. Other factors affecting prices this morning include mixed earnings reports in Japan, Europe and the U.S., with those from Apple (AAPL) particularly hurting the relevant stocks.
Donald Trump has declared himself the “presumptive nominee” for the Republican party in November’s presidential election after victories in the five north-eastern states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware. Trump now has an estimated 950 of the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the nomination. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton won four of the states as Bernie Sanders took Rhode Island. Clinton has 2,141 of the 2,383 delegates she requires.
As forecast, U.K. GDP growth slowed to a provisional 0.4% on quarter in Q1 from 0.6% in Q4. On year, GDP rose 2.1%, as in Q4 but above expectations. The slowdown comes ahead of a referendum in June over whether Britain should remain in the EU. Expect both sides of the debate to use the numbers to support their cause.
Germany’s Gfk consumer confidence index rose to 9.7 heading into May from 9.4 a month earlier and topped expectations that were also 9.4. “Growth is being observed for both economic and income expectations as well as propensity to buy,” GFK says. “Consumers are clearly assuming that the German economy will regain some momentum in the coming months,” GFK adds.
Spain will hold a repeat general election in June after King Felipe VI yesterday gave up trying to persuade the country’s major parties to form a government following three rounds of talks. A caretaker government has been ruling Spain since an inconclusive vote in December, when upstart or minor parties won almost 40% of seats in parliament. That left the two establishment parties, the conservative Popular Party and the Socialists, too weak to form a new government.