10 things you need to know in markets today

Yuki Kawauchi of Japan celebrates after winning the men's division of the 122nd Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., April 16, 2018.

Yuki Kawauchi of Japan celebrates after winning the men’s division of the 122nd Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., April 16, 2018.
REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Tuesday.

1. China was buying US treasuries at the fastest rate in six months just prior to the recent trade spat between the two countries. Bloomberg reports that China’s holdings of US government debt rose by $US8.5 billion in February to a total of $US1.18 trillion. The increase means China retained its position as the largest foreign creditor to the US.

2. China’s latest GDP report card, somewhat predictably, has printed in line with market expectations. According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the economy grew by 6.8% in the March quarter compared to a year earlier, in line with economist forecasts and unchanged from the December quarter.

3. US stocks rose Monday as focus shifted from geopolitical turmoil to corporate earnings reports. Markets seemed comforted by a lack of immediate Russian retaliation after the US and its allies carried out air strikes against the Syrian government on Friday.

4. Asia stocks wavered on Tuesday after data showed both hot and cold patches in the Chinese economy, but losses were limited as investors turned their focus to corporate earnings from Syria, Reuters reports. Japan’s Nikkei stock index closed up 0.07%, while the Hong Kong Hang Seng is down 0.15% at the time of writing (7.18 a.m. GMT/2.18 a.m. ET) and China’s Shanghai Composite is down 0.54% at the same time.

5. Netflix blew past its subscriber growth targets in its first-quarter earnings report Monday, and its stock rose by more than 6% in after-hours trading. The streaming giant added a total of 7.41 million subscribers in the US and internationally – its biggest total for Q1.

6. Associated British Foods on Tuesday reported a 1% fall in first-half profit, with a resilient performance at its Primark fashion business offset by a previously flagged reduction in sugar revenues. Reuters reports that AB Foods, which also owns major ingredients and grocery businesses, made adjusted operating profit of £648 million for the six months to March 3.

7. UK unemployment and earnings data are coming. The Office of National Statistics will release data for February and March at 9.30 a.m. GMT (4.30 a.m. ET). Unemployment is forecast to hold steady at 4.3%, while earnings growth excluding bonuses is expected to accelerate from 2.6% in January to 2.8% in February.

8. Tesla has temporarily suspended its Model 3 assembly line in what the company said on Monday was a planned production pause, as the automaker continues to face challenges ramping up its new sedan. It was the second time since February that Tesla has temporarily shut down its production line for the Model 3 at its Fremont, California plant.

9. Apple is hitting a wall in China, UBS analyst Steven Milunovich wrote in a note to clients. “In 2015 the move to 4G and the new iPhone 6/6 Plus form factors drove significant growth for Apple at the expense of Samsung,” Milunovich wrote. “We now expect flat China units and little long-term growth.”

10. The European Union’s digital chief will meet with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in San Francisco as the world’s largest social network faces increasing scrutiny over its use of personal data. Andrus Ansip, European Commission Vice President in charge of digital issues, will meet with Zuckerberg on Tuesday, as well as Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, to discuss issues such as data protection, online privacy, illegal content and fake news.