0709: US stocks were sent lower overnight by escalating geopolitical risks in Syria, with the risk-off environment helping drive a rally in long-end US Treasuries. The FTSE 100 is seen falling 17-18 points at Thursday's market open.
On that note, Theresa May plans to convene a 'war cabinet' on Thursday in order to seek pre-approval for the UK to join a tripartite attack on the Syrian regime in response to its alleged use of chemical weapons.
The military action, which might start within hours of Cabinet approval, would be led by France and the US and be aimed at Syrian president Bashar al Assad's chemical weapons infrastructure, Sky reported.
0659: TD Securities notes the Japanese yen, up 0.3%, was the top performing G10 currency against the greenback “as the pullback in market sentiment boosted demand for safe-haven assets”, while USDCAD continued its descent on higher crude oil prices that were lifting UK oil stocks yesterday. Meanwhile, the rouble rallied by over 3% from intraday lows to end the session up 0.7%.
“Asian equities fell during Asian trading, following a weak close to US markets,” TD says. Bonds were mixed, with Indian bonds in particular, continuing to sell off. Meanwhile oil held gains, with Brent crude above $72, while precious and base metals prices slipped.
“ECB minutes and Swedish inflation are the main risk events for Thursday. “Markets will also brace for the onset of US earnings season, with several companies scheduled to report tomorrow.”
0655: Overnight, the US Federal Reserve were shown to be more confident on the economic outlook when they met last month, with minutes of the meeting showing several policymakers were of the belief that at some point in about two years' time rates would need to rise above their normal longer-run value.
Central to the above, Fed heads reached the conclusion that the White House's December tax reforms were set to deliver a bigger than previously expected boost to activity.
0654: The US closing market report shows the Dow Jones fell 0.9% to 24,189.45, the S&P 500 down 0.55% and the Nasdaq Composite down 0.36%.
Wall Street showed some caution ahead of the release of the Fed minutes and after a slightly worse-than-expected print on US inflation data for March, with geopolitical tensions around Syria weighing on sentiment.