What's moving markets today: September 11, 2019

By CNN Business

Updated 4:49 p.m. ET, September 11, 2019
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9:12 a.m. ET, September 11, 2019

Mortgage rates hit 3-year low

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

Mortgages are cheaper than they have been in years.

In the Labor Day holiday week, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in the United States dropped to its lowest level since the week of November 4, 2016, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The average rate on loan balances below $484,350 was 3.84%, while the rate on larger loan balances was 3.84%.

Over the summer, mortgages got cheaper but home buying didn't quite seem to catch up, in part because home prices rose faster than wages.

In July, however, existing home sales climbed, as the cheap mortgages are finally showing an effect on the market.

8:20 a.m. ET, September 11, 2019

Trump calls for US interest rates to be "zero, or less"

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

The Federal Reserve should cut US interest rates to "zero, or less," said President Donald Trump in a tweet this morning. Lower rates would give the country the chance to refinance its debt pile at lower rates, Trump said.

(The United States does not refinance its debt this way. Lower rates would, however, make it cheaper for the United States to borrow in the future.)

What Trump is proposing would be extreme: The Fed didn't even take rates into negative territory in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

The United States has some $70 trillion of total public and private sector debt. And a debt pile like that comes with a hefty interest bill. According to research from the Institute of International Finance, a 1% rate cut by the Fed could reduce the US interest burden by $20 to $25 billion per year.

Trump has long called on the Fed and Chairman Jerome Powell to lower rates to boost the economy, citing low rates in other countries as proof that America is lagging behind. The European Central Bank, for example, has not yet raised rates since slashing them to ultra-low levels in the wake of the European sovereign debt crisis. The ECB is giving its policy update tomorrow.

But the US economy remains stronger than those of its peers. It does not need interest rates as low as Trump might like them. Even though the pace of growth in America is expected to taper some into the end of the year, it continues to outpace European countries.

7:26 a.m. ET, September 11, 2019

Hong Kong makes $37 billion bid for the London Stock Exchange

From CNN Business' Hanna Ziady

Hong Kong has just made a surprise £30 billion ($37 billion) bid for the London Stock Exchange.

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKXCFsaid Wednesday it had made a proposal to the board of the LSE (LNSTY) to "combine the two companies" in a cash and share deal worth £29.6 billion, or £31.6 billion ($39 billion) including debt.

The deal would "redefine global capital markets for decades to come," HKEX CEO Charles Li said in a statement.

Read more here.

7:28 a.m. ET, September 11, 2019

Europe's new tech giant is ... Tencent?

From CNN Business' Julia Horowitz

A version of this first appeared in CNN Business' relaunched "Before the Bell" newsletter. Sign up here!

Naspers, the South African media company that hit the jackpot with an early investment in Tencent, has spun out its 31% stake in the Chinese internet group via the listing of a new company in Amsterdam.

Called Prosus, the company became the largest consumer tech company in Europe when it listed on Wednesday. It's now the second largest tech company in the region, after Germany's SAP.

Investors are loving it. Prosus shares soared more than 25% in early trading, per my CNN Business colleague Hanna Ziady in London.

Background: The Tencent stake has been a huge boon for Naspers, which paid just $32 million for it back in 2001. The investment is now worth $130 billion.

But it's also caused headaches for the South African firm. Before the spin-out, Naspers accounted for 25% of the combined value of the 40 biggest companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. T

hat's forced investors to sell Naspers shares so they're not overly exposed to a single stock. The move to Amsterdam should help — and investors in Europe won't mind either.

7:28 a.m. ET, September 11, 2019

The trade war might be taking a breather

From CNN Business' Julia Horowitz

A version of this first appeared in CNN Business' relaunched "Before the Bell" newsletter. Sign up here!

After months of repeated escalation, the United States and China look no closer to hammering out a meaningful trade deal. But for now, at least, tensions look to be easing, not escalating. For investors, that provides an opening.

On Wednesday, Beijing said it had waived import tariffs on more than a dozen US goods — the first such exemptions since the trade fight began. They'll kick in on September 17, as US and Chinese officials prepare to resume face-to-face talks in Washington.

Investor insight: The announcement could encourage those who have recently unwound positions in safe haven assets such as the yen, which has weakened back to July levels after hitting 2019 highs in August.

Gold prices have also dipped in the past week, and US Treasury yields have been rising as investors sell bonds. The yield on the benchmark 10-year note is up to 1.72%, from 1.46% earlier this month.

7:20 a.m. ET, September 11, 2019

Peloton fitness startup seeks to raise over $1 billion

From CNN Business' Ahiza Garcia

Indoor cycling startup Peloton is looking to raise approximately $1.1 billion as part of its initial public offering, according to a regulatory filing late Tuesday.

The company specializes in at-home stationary bikes and treadmills that can be used to participate in subscription-based online workout classes.

It proposed to price its shares between $26 and $29 and is offering 40 million shares. It plans to list under the ticker PTON on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Read more here.