Investing.com – Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Wednesday, March 28:
1. Global stocks switch back to trade war jitters
Global stocks fell on Wednesday after Wall Street was knocked hard by concerns about tighter controls on the tech industry, denting a brief global equities recovery driven by hopes that the risk of a U.S.-China trade war was easing.
The tech sector was hit as market participants speculated with increased regulation over Facebook’s debacle with protecting users’ privacy
Equities extended losses further after China’s state-run Global Times reported the world’s second largest economy will soon announce a list of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports to China.
The news dashed traders’ hopes that trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies was easing. After the skid more than 300 points a day earlier, U.S. futures pointed to a continuation of the selloff. At 5:54AM ET (9:54GMT), the blue-chip fell 45 points, or 0.19%, lost 6 points, or 0.22%, while the traded down 39 points, or 0.60%.
Elsewhere, Asian shares were infected by the tech selloff and rekindling of trade worries. Japan’s ended down 1.2%, while China’s skid 1.4%.
Tech firms also led European stocks lower in near mid-day trading as persistent concerns over a regulatory crackdown on big tech and a string of negative headlines overnight hit sentiment towards the sector that drove a long bull market.
2. China preps retaliatory tariffs against U.S. imports
Just last Monday it had appeared that trade tensions between China and the U.S. had been simmering down and global stocks rallied.
However, concerns returned full force as the Chinese state run Global Times reported that Beijing would soon announce a full list of tariffs on U.S. imports to retaliate to planned U.S. levies.
Alarm over a possible trade war between the world’s two largest economies has dampened risk sentiment as financial markets anticipated dire consequences should trade barriers go up due to Trump’s bid to cut the U.S. deficit with China.
Markets are now waiting for the U.S. to publish a list of Chinese products that could be targeted with additional tariffs after a U.S. inquiry found China guilty of intellectual property theft and unfair trade.
3. GDP to focus attention on economic front
In a light day for economic references, the U.S. is to release final figures on fourth-quarter economic growth at 8:30AM ET (12:30GMT) Wednesday.
The data is expected to show that the economy expanded at a healthy annual rate in the final three months of 2017, upwardly revised from a preliminary estimate of 2.5%. It grew by 3.2% in the third quarter.
Of note, this third reading is from the October to December 2017 period and is not expected to include the impact of Trump’s tax cuts.
Investors will also focus on housing market data on Wednesday as the National Association of Realtors publishes its pending home sales for the month of February at 10:00AM ET (14:00GMT).
4. Oil heads lower on bets for U.S. inventory build
Crude prices continued to track lower on Wednesday, amid speculation weekly supply data due later in the day will show a big buildup in U.S. oil supplies.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its for the week ended March 23 at 10:30AM ET (14:30GMT), amid expectations for a draw of 287,000 barrels.
However, after markets closed Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute said that U.S. oil inventories last week.
rose 1.03% to $ 64.38 at 5:55AM ET (9:55GMT), while traded down 0.82% to $ 68.89.
Despite Wednesday’s pullback, oil prices were still on track for monthly gains of around 5%.
Elsewhere, in Asia, saw their third day of trading continuing with high volume and volatile trading. Spot Shanghai crude futures sank almost 4%.
5. North Korea reportedly pledges denuclearization
China said Wednesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had pledged to denuclearize the Korean peninsula during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, in exchange for a promise that the world’s second largest economy would uphold its friendship with its isolated neighbor.
Kim expressed an openness to U.S. talks during meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the official Xinhua News Agency said Wednesday, in what was his first foreign trip since taking power in 2011.
Two days into the surprise visit which wasn’t confirmed by the North Korean and Chinese governments until Wednesday, Kim returned to Pyongyang, according to North Korean press which did not mention either the prospect of denuclearization or the potential Trump summit.