- U.S. stock markets higher ahead of trade talks
U.S. stock markets point to a higher open on Wednesday as trade talks between the U.S and China resume in Washington.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are set to restart negotiations today with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. Both countries have negotiated 90% of deal, but the final 10% is the hardest part of the talks, the Financial Times reported, citing people briefed on the discussions.
At around 6:38 a.m. ET, futures on the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 were up 41.75 points, or 0.56% to 7,561. Futures on the S&P 500 jumped 14 points, or 0.49% to 2,881, while those on the Dow 30 contract were also higher.
- Crude oil futures surge
Oil is on track for its highest level for the year as a report showing an unexpected rise in U.S. inventories was overshadowed by additional Iran sanctions and support from OPEC-led supply cuts.
At around 5:00 a.m. ET, Brent crude oil futures, the international benchmark, rose $0.38, or 0.55% to $69.75. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude climbed $0.2, or 0.32% to $62.78, having hit a five-month high of $62.99.
- UK Prime Minister seeks another Brexit extension
Sterling held steady on Wednesday morning after soaring overnight when Prime Minister Theresa May revealed plans for talks with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn to prevent a no deal Brexit. Mr. Corbyn has repeatedly pushed for UK-EU customs union to avoid disrupting trade.
The Prime Minister has also announced that she intends to ask European Union leaders for another Brexit delay until May, though it is not clear whether the bloc will agree to that. Sterling surged against both the euro and dollar, rising 0.22% to €1.1747 and 0.41% to $1.3184, respectively.
- Bitcoin lifts Ethereum, XRP prices
Following the sudden price rise of Bitcoin on Tuesday, the two cryptocurrencies that follow it by market capitalization are also soaring. Ripple (XRP) jumped by nearly 7% while Ethereum (ETH) gained about 13% as bulls took control resulting in a sharp upward move above the resistance level of each cryptocurrency.
At press time, Bitcoin broke was above the $5,000 resistance level, trading at $5,011.2. XRP was sitting at $0.34970 while Ethereum was trading at $168.95