(Bloomberg) — Equity futures for US and Asian stock benchmarks slid while currencies held within tight ranges in a cautious start to trading Monday as the risk of a debt default in Washington cast a shadow over markets.
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Movements in most Group-of-10 currencies were confined to 0.2% versus the dollar. Contracts for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 dropped about 0.2% after the gauges registered small declines Friday. Amid the global focus on the debt-ceiling negotiations and US interest rates, futures for Japanese and Australian shares fell slightly and those for Hong Kong rose marginally.
President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are scheduled to meet later Monday following a “productive” call between the pair over the weekend. Yet one Republican negotiator is insisting on a multiyear spending limit, complicating talks even as default could come as soon as June 1.
Traders also remain fixated on the path for Federal Reserve’s benchmark interest rate, with bets for a hike in June trimmed to 25% as Jerome Powell signaled a pause. Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari also said he may support a pause, Dow Jones reported.
“Market pricing is firmly back to thinking the Fed will pause,” Chris Weston, head of research for Pepperstone Group Ltd., said in a Monday note. “The US debt ceiling, and the price action in US banks, are going to dominate the narrative.”
Australian and New Zealand government bonds were steady after selling in Treasuries on Friday nudged yields higher.
The S&P 500’s drop Friday halted a two-day rally as it failed to stay above the closely watched level of 4,200. The $3.2 billion SPDR S&P Regional Banking exchange-traded fund slumped almost 2% on a news report that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told the chiefs of large lenders that more mergers may be needed.
Stocks are primed for a precipitous drop if the US fails to raise the debt limit and delays government payments. That’s the warning from a team of UBS strategists. Although it’s unlikely, if the US formally defaults and delays all payments beyond principal payments for a week, the S&P 500 will fall as much as 20% toward 3,400, the team led by Jonathan Pingle said.
Meanwhile, markets continue to be buffeted by tension between China and the US and its allies. Beijing announced on Sunday a ban on Micron Technology Inc. as Group-of-Seven leaders meeting in Japan pushed ahead with efforts to reduce dependence on China for critical supply chains.
Commiodities started the week with oil steady after a two-day drop and gold moderately higher, building on a 1% rise on Friday.
Key events this week:
China loan prime rates, Monday
Eurozone consumer confidence, Monday
Federal Reserve presidents speaking are James Bullard, Raphael Bostic and Thomas Barkin, Monday
Eurozone S&P Global Eurozone Manufacturing & Services PMI, Tuesday
US new home sales, Tuesday
Dallas Fed President Lorie Logan speaks, Tuesday
Fed issues minutes of May 2-3 policy meeting, Wednesday
Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey speaks, Wednesday
US initial jobless claims, GDP, Thursday
Interest rate decisions in Turkey, South Africa, Indonesia, South Korea, Thursday
Tokyo CPI, Friday
US consumer income, wholesale inventories, durable goods, University of Michigan consumer sentiment, Friday
Some of the main moves in markets:
S&P 500 futures fell 0.2% as of 7:58 a.m. Tokyo time. The S&P 500 fell 0.1% Friday
Nasdaq 100 futures fell 0.1%. The Nasdaq 100 fell 0.2% Friday
Nikkei 225 futures fell 0.2%
Hang Seng futures rose 0.1%
S&P/ASX 200 futures fell 0.2%
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed
The euro rose 0.1% to $1.0818
The Japanese yen rose 0.2% to 137.68 per dollar
The offshore yuan was little changed at 7.0258 per dollar
Bitcoin fell 0.3% to $26,776.78
Ether was little changed at $1,806.15
West Texas Intermediate crude was little changed
Spot gold rose 0.1% to $1,980.44 an ounce
This story was produced with the assistance of Bloomberg Automation.
–With assistance from Rita Nazareth.
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