Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Thursday, September 8:
1. All eyes on ECB policy decision, Draghi press conference
The European Central Bank’s interest rate decision is due at 11:45GMT (7:45AM ET) on Thursday, with most of the focus likely to be on President Mario Draghi’s press conference 45 minutes after the announcement.The ECB is not expected to move on rates, but it could extend the time frame of its €80 billion monthly asset-buying program beyond March 2017 and maybe even announce new assets to purchase, according to market watchers.The euro climbed to a session high of 1.1279 against the dollar, the most since August 26. It was last at 1.1273, up 0.3%.
2. Oil prices jump ahead of U.S. stockpile data
Oil prices rose sharply on Thursday, as market players awaited fresh weekly information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products.U.S. crude was up 78 cents, or 1.7%, to $46.28 a barrel during morning hours in New York, while Brent tacked on 72 cents, or 1.5%, to $48.70.The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its weekly report on oil supplies at 11:00AM ET (15:00GMT). The EIA data comes out one day later than usual due to Monday’s Labor Day holiday.After markets closed Wednesday, the American Petroleum Institute said that U.S. oil inventories plunged by a whopping 12.1 million barrels in the week ended September 2.If Thursday’s government report shows a similar drop, it would be the largest one-week fall in stocks since April 1985.
3. China imports rise for first time since 2014
China’s imports rose unexpectedly in August for the first time in nearly two years, while exports fell at a more modest pace, suggesting demand at home and abroad may finally be perking up and putting the world’s second-largest economy on a more balanced footing.Beijing reported imports rose 1.5% in August from a year ago, confounding forecasts of a 4.9% drop, while exports from the Asian giant dipped 2.8%, compared to expectations for a decline of 4.0%.That resulted in a narrower trade surplus of $52.05 billion in August, versus a $58 billion forecast and July’s $52.31 billion, the General Administration of Customs said.
4. Global stocks mixed ahead of ECB, U.S. data
U.S. stock index futures pointed to a marginally higher open on Thursday morning, as investors focused on the next set of U.S. data and Fed speakers for further guidance on the timing of the next interest rate hike.The weekly jobless claims report is due at 8:30AM ET, while Kansas City Fed President Esther George will speak at 2:00PM ET.Meanwhile, European and U.K. stocks flipped between gains and losses in choppy mid-morning trade, as markets look ahead to the latest monetary policy meeting of the European Central Bank.Earlier, Asian shares ended mixed-to-lower, with Japan’s Nikkei ending down 0.3%, pressured by a stronger yen.
5. Apple slightly lower in pre-market trade after iPhone7 launch
All eyes are on Apple shares after the tech giant launched the iPhone 7, wireless headphones and a new watch on Wednesday afternoon in a bid to turnaround the company’s first drop in sales.The new features for the iPhone were broadly in line with expectations, given previous leaks to the media.Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) traded down less than half a percent ahead of open on Thursday morning after closing 0.6% higher on Wednesday.
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