10 things you need to know in markets today

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

Most members of the Federal Open Markets Committee believe that they should take action on how to start shrinking the Fed’s $US4.5 trillion balance sheet later this year, according to minutes from their mid-March meeting. The Fed amassed assets by buying Treasurys and other mortgage-related securities during the financial crisis to keep interest rates low. Some Fed officials have recently spoken about a readiness to start halting reinvestments of the securities as they mature, but others have said it is too soon.

Mexico’s central bank chief said on Wednesday the bank altered course on how to protect the peso after a couple of tweets by U.S. President Donald Trump in early January pummelled the local currency to near historic lows and wiped out the effect of a $US2 billion currency intervention. “I’ll say it like this, in simple terms: with two tweets from you know who, the effect (of that intervention) vanished,” Mexican Central Bank chief Agustin Carstens said on Wednesday.

Gold prices edged up on Thursday on a weaker dollar and as appetite for risky assets such as equities waned ahead of a tense meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart. Gold futures climbed as much as 0.62% to trade at $US1,256 per troy ounce as of 6.45 a.m. BST.

Stocks fell and bonds rose in Asia on Thursday, with risk appetite soured by signs the Federal Reserve might start paring its king-sized balance sheet later this year just as the chances of an early U.S. fiscal stimulus faded further. Investors were also wary ahead of Trump and Xi Jinping’s meeting, the first between the world’s two most powerful leaders.

Britain’s statistical authority, the Office for National Statistics, is teaming up with the Bank of England to try and improve the chances that the next recession to hit the UK is stopped before it can begin. Later on Thursday morning, the ONS will publish the full details of its Economic Review, a report that it believes will “help it spot future economic downturns quicker,” following a slew of criticism of economists and forecasters over their supposed failure to predict the future accurately enough.

A JPMorgan asset manager overseeing $US350 billion thinks Europe is an unexploited opportunity for investors – Mainland Europe represents an underexploited and potentially lucrative opportunity for investors, according to the head of equities at JPMorgan Asset Management.

Recent MBA grads are increasingly looking west to big companies like Apple, Google and especially Amazon when searching for post-business school employment. Elite MBA talent is being heavily recruited by tech firms, especially at a few target schools, like Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business and MIT’s Sloan School of Management, according to new analysis from Poets and Quants, a news website that covers business schools.

Centrist Emmanuel Macron’s lead in France’s presidential election has narrowed though he is still on course to win, two polls casting light on voter intentions following a televised debate between candidates showed. Macron would win 25% of the April 23 first round vote while far right leader Marine Le Pen was seen getting 24%, according to a Harris Interactive poll for France Televisions published on Thursday.

PwC says the financial services establishment has moved from viewing fintech startups as an amusing aside to seeing them as crucial collaborators, with a huge proportion hoping to partner with new innovators in the future. In its latest Global Fintech Report, published on Thursday, PwC says that 82% of incumbents it surveyed plan to increase collaboration with fintech companies over the next three to five years.

London startup Monzo announced on Wednesday that it has had the restrictions on its banking app lifted. The move means that Monzo can now start providing its pre-paid card and beta app users with full, unrestricted current accounts. It also means the company will be able to start managing customer deposits on a much bigger scale.

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