Asian stocks inched higher on Thursday as the United States and Europe agreed to negotiations to ease barriers on trade, but ongoing concerns about the outlook for global growth weighed on investor sentiment. After gains on Wall Street on Wednesday sparked by signs of sunnier days for U.S.-Europe trade, S&P 500 E-mini futures turned lower Thursday morning in Asia, falling 0.2 percent. In a news conference following a meeting between the two leaders on Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump said he and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had agreed to work to lower industrial tariffs on both sides.
Trump’s meeting with Jean-Claude Juncker came amid a raft of earnings from U.S. companies, some of which reflected the impact of recent trade threats from the White House. Facebook tumbled 20 percent plus in after-hours trading as revenue and user growth missed estimates and General Motors shares plunged after the carmaker cut its profit forecast on surging metals prices.
Moving ahead, investors will keep an eye on the European Central Bank (ECB) interest rate decision followed by President, Mario Draghi’s speech, due later in the day. Additionally, Germany’s Gfk consumer confidence index for August, slated to release in a while, will be on investors radar. Later in the day, the US initial jobless claims followed by advance goods trade balance and durable goods orders, both for June, will keep traders on their toes.