Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Thursday.
Private sector growth picked up pace in the last three months of the year, according to a leading business lobby group. A survey of 788 firms by the Confederation for British Industry (CBI) showed that the balance of firms reporting a rise in output stood at +17% — the highest level in a year.
Monte dei Paschi di Siena is to be rescued by the Italian state using a new €20 billion (£16.8 billion) bailout package, as a last-gasp private sector rescue plan for the world’s oldest bank looked set to fail, forcing losses on bondholders. The Financial Times reports that the government rescue, which had long been resisted in Rome, is designed to draw a line under the slow-burn crisis in Italian banking that has alarmed investors and become the main source of concern for European financial regulators.
President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday tapped Peter Navarro, an economic adviser to his campaign and an outspoken China hawk, to lead a newly formed White House National Trade Council. Navarro is well known for his tough-on-China stance, which matches up with Trump’s rhetoric from the campaign trail and along his “thank you” tour, during which he said the nation was the root cause of the greatest “jobs theft” in history.
UBS analyst Steven Milunovich dropped a brief, downbeat note suggesting Apple is in “a gap period” that may last “years” before the company climbs out of the funk it’s in. “Apple has been a serial innovator, but investors question whether Apple has lost its mojo. We don’t think the answer will be clear for a few years,” he wrote in a note to clients.
British consumers are downbeat about the economy’s prospects next year, a major survey showed on Thursday, despite signs that growth has remained robust since June’s Brexit vote. Reuters reports that a big jump in households’ appetite to make major purchases helped market research company GfK’s monthly consumer sentiment index inch up to -7 in December from -8 in November. But this concealed a deterioration in consumers’ outlook for 2017.
Carl Icahn, the hedge fund titan, will be a part of Donald Trump’s administration. Icahn will be a special adviser to the president-elect overseeing regulation specifically, according to the transition team.
An economic update is coming from the European Central Bank. The ECB will publish its latest Economic Bulletin at 9.00 a.m. GMT (4.00 a.m. ET), giving investors more idea of what the central bank expects to see in 2017.
US President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday met the CEOs of defence contracting giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin, whose programs he has criticised in recent weeks. Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg — whose company is under contract with the US Air Force to develop and manufacture the next presidential aircraft fleet — said the price will be less than a near-$4 billion (£3.2 billion) estimate.
US GDP and jobless numbers are coming. The figures, as well as a slew of other US data, will drop at 1.30 p.m. GMT (8.30 a.m. ET). Third quarter GDP growth is forecast to come in at 3.3% on the same quarter last year and 1.4% on the second quarter.
US stocks opened little changed on Wednesday as everyone watched whether it would finally be the day the Dow hits the 20,000 mark — it wasn’t. All three major indices dropped later in the morning and ultimately finished in the red. Asian markets are quiet: Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.06%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng is down 0.82% at the time of writing (6.23 a.m. GMT/1.23 a.m. ET), and China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite index is down 0.02%.