NY Open: Markets cautious on hurricane, headline risk

Markets of all stripes are trading with a cautious bias this morning. Some of the concern stems from Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm that is heading for either South Carolina or North Carolina and is expected to arrive on Thursday. It could achieve Category 5 status by then. 

That’s not the only storm threat. President Trump has yet to react to news that China is seeking permission from the World Trade Organization to impose sanctions on the US over Washington’s non-compliance to a WTO ruling from a 2013 complaint. The President has previously threatened to withdraw from the WTO, and this could be the catalyst.

Canadian and US trade officials are back at the negotiating table in Washington. The US wants a less restrictive dispute resolution and access to Canada’s dairy industry. Canada is opposed to both demands. USDCAD is rangebound while the trade talks drag on. This morning’s August housing starts data didn’t help, as they dropped 2.3% compared to the July result.

Wall Street is spinning its wheels. The DJIA, S&P 500, and Nasdaq are a tinge in the red compared to yesterday’s closing levels. The mood is sombre as it is the 17th anniversary of 9/11 and the 10-year anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse.

The US dollar has inched higher in New York trading led by a rise in USDJPY which climbed from 111.13 at the open to 111.53 at 14:00 GMT. Higher US Treasury yields and better than expected JOLTS data supported the gains. Job openings rose to 6,939,000 in July, a record high. 

Sterling is still the poster child for volatility. GBPUSD dropped to 1.2965 and then popped to 1.3040 when Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said a Brexit deal could be done in two weeks. He didn’t say how and GBPUSD settled at 1.3010.
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GBPUSD (five-minute, Brexit volatility circled in green, source: Saxo Bank)

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