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Pound stabilizes but struggles to rally after Brexit delay

March 22, 2019: The pound edged up Friday but was struggling to claw back its latest losses after the EU gave Britain a Brexit deadline extension, while equity markets mostly rose on a positive lead from Wall Street.

At a summit in Brussels Prime Minister Theresa May was given until April 12 to push her divorce agreement through a fractious parliament next week. If she manages to get it passed, the exit date will be pushed back until May 22.

However, a third defeat by MPs would mean Britain crashes out on April 12, unless London agrees to take part in European elections, a move the prime minister previously has ruled out.

The announcement puts pressure on May to get her deal through Westminster, with French President Emmanuel Macron warning: "In the case of a negative British vote then we'd be heading to a no deal."

Sterling has come under pressure owing to the uncertainty in the past few days, falling to as low as $1.3004 Thursday, though it has recovered slightly and is still maintaining its position.

However, OANDA senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley remained wary.

"The investor community continues to price the pound as if a no-deal Brexit is not possible, looking for excuses to buy rather than sell," he said in a note. "A close look at the text of the EU announcement suggests this is not a guaranteed outcome."

The Bank of England on Thursday expressed concern that further "uncertainties" over a "cliff-edge" no-deal Brexit "could have a significant effect on spending" by businesses.

Equity dealers were treading warily as they weighed an indication from the Federal Reserve that borrowing costs will not rise this year with concerns about the slowing economy and stuttering China-US trade talks.

Tokyo ended the morning 0.2 percent down and Shanghai slipped 0.6 percent while Seoul dropped 0.2 percent.

However, Hong Kong edged up 0.1 percent, Sydney added 0.6 percent and Singapore put on 0.1 percent, with Manila and Jakarta also higher.

The next possible market-moving catalyst could be next week as top US officials head to Beijing on March 28-29 for a new round of trade talks, followed by a trip to Washington by China's top negotiator in April.

While there is optimism a deal will eventually be struck Donald Trump caused ripples when he said Wednesday that US tariffs on Chinese imports could remain in place for a "substantial period", dampening hopes that an agreement would see them lifted soon.

(APP)

SBP to Conduct 7 Day OMO

March 22, 2019 (MLN): The State Bank of Pakistan has announced that it will conduct a 7 day OMO (Reverse Repo) to inject funds into the market.

Quotes timing is up to 10:30 PST while result will be announced at 11:00 PST.

Settlement is same day - March 22, 2019

Copyright Mettis Link News

Declining topline and margins to negatively impact Berger Paints’...

March 22, 2019 (MLN): Pakistan Credit Rating Agency (PACRA) has assigned initial entity ratings to Berger Paints Pakistan Limited, at ‘BBB+’ for long term and ‘A2’ for short term, while the outlook forecast on the rating action is ‘stable’.

According to PACRA’s press announcement on this occasion, the ratings reflect Berger’s established position and brand recognition in the premium domestic paint market of the country.

They further incorporate strong governance framework and experienced management team along with effective control framework.

“The ratings are dependent upon the management’s ability to improve margins and profitability, meanwhile prudent management of the working capital, maintaining good coverages and strong capital structure is also important,” says the agency.

Decline in topline and deterioration in margins leading to erosion of profitability will have negative impact on the ratings.

Copyright Mettis Link News

Asian stocks open higher encouraged by US rallies

March 22, 2019: Hong Kong stocks rose soon after opening Friday morning, tracking a healthy lead from Wall Street, where investors cheered the Federal Reserve's dovish outlook for interest rates.

The Hang Seng Index added 0.35 percent, or 101.77 points, to 29,173.33.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index was barely moved, inching down 0.73 points to 3,100.73, while the Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, was also flat, edging 2.19 points higher to 9,871.99.

Meanwhile, Tokyo stocks opened higher on Friday as rallies on Wall Street helped improve investor sentiment, but with a higher yen against the dollar weighing on the market.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 0.16 percent or 33.81 points at 21,642.73 in early trade while the broader Topix index was up 0.08 percent or 0.91 points at 1,615.30.

(APP)

US stocks tread water after Fed trims growth outlook

New York, March 21: Wall Street was little changed early Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve cut its growth outlook and announced an unexpected pivot on monetary policy.

Investors were also absorbing the latest Brexit developments as the odds mounted that Britain could crash out of the EU next week without a deal governing future trade relations.

Ten minutes into the day's trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 were both flat at 25,747.77 and 2,824.86 respectively.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq had gained 0.2 percent at 7,741.98.

The Fed's Wednesday announcements -- which included details on how it planned to end the runoff of its current balance sheet of assets acquired following the financial crisis a decade ago -- have helped push down yields on Treasury bonds, flattening the so-called yield curve, a closely watched recession indicator.

"If nothing else, the behavior of the Treasury market is forcing the stock market to think that it has gotten ahead of itself, which is creating some selling interest in the immediate wake of a Fed decision that was surprising and not surprising at the same time," analyst Patrick O'Hare wrote at Briefing.com.

Shares in Boeing were down 0.3 percent, following a Seattle Times report that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation had joined inquiries into the certification of top-selling 737 MAX aircraft following fatal crashes.

Bio-pharmaceutical company Biogen nosedived more than 27 percent after announcing it would discontinue trials of an Alzheimer's medication.

Denim apparel brand Levi Strauss & Co rang the Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange to mark the company's initial public offering.

In economic data, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's monthly index of manufacturing activity leapt nearly 18 points, well above analyst expectations.

The Labor Department reported a slight fall in weekly data for new unemployment benefits claims, continuing a recent downward trend.

(AFP/APP)

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