What's moving markets today: April 3, 2019

6 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
9:40 a.m. ET, April 3, 2019

Kay and Jared's parent company will close 150 stores this year

Signet Jewelers (SIG), which operates Kay, Zales, Peoples and Jared stores, plans to close more than 150 stores this year as traffic slows to the mall retailer.

Signet closed 262 stores last year. It still has more than 2,800 stores in North America.

The retailer announced the plan on Wednesday. It also reported results for the holiday stretch.

Sales at stores in North America open for at least a year fell 1.4% in November, December and January compared with a year ago, including an 8.4% decline at Jared.

The company predicts same-store sales will fall by up to 2.5% this year.

Signet's holiday results and guidance were not as bad as some investors feared. Signet's stock was flat during pre-market trading.

8:02 a.m. ET, April 3, 2019

Christine Romans: This week is 'critical' in the US-China trade war

It's a critical week in the US-China trade war, with both sides inching toward a deal.

"We're getting toward the end-game stage," the US Chamber of Commerce's Myron Brilliant told reporters Tuesday.

Stock markets certainly have been acting like it: The S&P 500 is up more than 14% this year and less than 3% from its record set last September.

Watch out for hurdles: The Chinese wants the US to drop all tariffs. Washington wants guarantees on implementation and enforcement. Also, a potential border closure with Mexico could sour any optimism about US-China progress.

9:43 a.m. ET, April 3, 2019

Pound continues to swing

The British pound has rallied after Prime Minister Theresa May said she would implement any Brexit deal that was agreed to by a majority in the UK parliament.

May also said she would ask the European Union for another short extension to Brexit, and work with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn to find a compromise.

  • The pound increased 0.4% against the dollar on Wednesday to trade at $1.31.

The political situation in the United Kingdom remains highly uncertain. It's not clear whether the European Union will grant a short extension to Brexit, and there's still no consensus in Britain on how to exit the bloc.

6:23 a.m. ET, April 3, 2019

Bitcoin prices are soaring again

Bitcoin prices shot up 15% Tuesday and briefly rose above the $5,000 level for the first time since November. But good luck finding a reason to explain the sudden spike.

"There is a growing sense that Bitcoin is back," Nigel Green, founder and chief executive of deVere Group, simply said.

Green added that "this dramatic jump is likely to attract many investors who have been sitting on the sidelines," including big institutions.

Wild swings for bitcoin are the norm. So this shouldn't be all that surprising, argued Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst with TF Global Markets, in a report.

"Bitcoin is a kind of a beast which has the ability to score more than 20% gain on a daily basis and we have seen this kind of rally towards the end of 2017 before the price crashed," Aslam wrote.

He added that the big bitcoin (XBT) spike "is going to attract many investors who have been sitting on the sideline and waiting for this moment."

6:22 a.m. ET, April 3, 2019

Oil prices zoom higher

Crude oil futures were on track for a fourth consecutive positive trading session on Wednesday.

US futures added 0.3% to trade at $62.70 per barrel, pushing gains for this year to 38%. Brent crude, the international benchmark, was up 0.8% to just under $70 per barrel.

Fiona Cincotta, an analyst at City Index, said:

With output falling for a fourth month thanks to continued OPEC production cuts and sanction on Iran and Venezuela, oil prices are well supported."

Recent positive manufacturing news from China has also eased fears of a dramatic slowdown in the world's second largest economy. Weak growth in China would have reduced demand for oil.

6:37 a.m. ET, April 3, 2019

Global markets check

Here's what investors are watching today:

  • The US non-manufacturing composite PMI will be published at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • Shares of Walgreens (WBA) dropped 13% after the drug store giant reported earnings and sales that missed forecasts.
  • Shares in fashion retailer Superdry plunged almost 12% in London after co-founder Julian Dunkerton won his bid to rejoin the company as a director, prompting the board to quit.