Investing.com - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Monday, October 30:
1. Global Stocks Mixed as Caution Sets in At Start of Busy Week
The global stock rally showed signs of slowing, bringing at least a momentary pause to this month’s strong performance, as investors turned cautious ahead of a busy week of central bank news.
Asian-Pacific markets ended mixed, as investors digested quarterly results from regional corporates. Among notable standouts, Japan's Nikkei ended little changed but remained around its highest level since mid-1996, having soared 8% in October so far.
But Chinese shares bucked the trend, with the Shanghai Composite Index set for its worst day since Aug. 11. Experts blamed the fall on a slide in the Chinese bond market amid mounting deleveraging concerns in the nation's financial sector.
In Europe, bourses and indexes were trading sideways, as a new set of third-quarter earnings pulled companies' stocks sharply in different directions. Germany's DAX held near last week's record highs, while Spain's IBEX 35 bounced back more than 1% amid easing concern over the Catalonia crisis.
On Wall Street, U.S. stocks pointed to a soft open, as investors looked to key earnings reports to set the tone for the markets. On Friday, U.S. stocks rose, with tech-heavy Nasdaq composite surging to a record high following blowout quarterly reports from three of the world's biggest tech companies.
2. Brent Pushes Further Above $60 as Oil Rally Continues
Oil prices started the week on an upbeat note, sending the global crude benchmark further above $60 a barrel and lifting the U.S. benchmark to its highest in nearly eight months.
Prices extended last week's rally on speculation that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major producers will agree to extend their production-cut deal through the end of the next year.
Brent crude futures rose to an intraday peak of $60.54 a barrel, its best level since July 2015, before pulling back to $60.35 in early trade.
Meanwhile, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures touched a session high of $54.18, a level not seen since March 1. It was last at $53.90.
3. Fed's Favorite Inflation Metric in Focus
Market players looked ahead to a key batch of U.S. economic data to gauge the strength of the world's largest economy and how it will impact the Federal Reserve's view on monetary policy.
The U.S. is to release reports on personal income and consumer spending for September, which include the personal consumption expenditures inflation data, the Fed's preferred metric for inflation, at 8:30AM ET (1230GMT).
Market watchers are also awaiting U.S. President Donald Trump's decision this week on who will replace Janet Yellen as Fed chair when her term ends in February, with sources saying the pick is going to be Fed Governor Jerome Powell.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was a shade lower at 94.61, edging away from last week's three-month highs. Treasury yields slipped as Wall Street grows more confident in Powell's candidacy.
Powell is seen less hawkish than Stanford University economist John Taylor, another potential nominee to lead the Fed.
4. Bitcoin Prices Hit a New Record High Above $6,300
Bitcoin prices hit a fresh all-time high above the $6,300-level, as traders continued to pile into the digital currency, shrugging off the recent fork in its blockchain.
The digital currency rallied to a peak of $6,345, surpassing the previous record of $6,150 recorded earlier this month. Prices pulled back slightly, trading at $6,200.
Bitcoin has been on an absolute tear in 2017, rising over 500% against the dollar so far this year.
5. First Charges Expected in Trump-Russia Probe
The investigation into possible Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election will enter a new phase as early as today, when the first charges resulting from the probe could be unsealed and a target taken into custody.
The indictment could mark a dramatic turn in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 race and any possible links with officials from President Donald Trump's campaign.
Trump has denied the allegations of collusion with the Russians and called the probe "a witch hunt" in a series of tweets on Sunday.
The fresh development comes as House Republicans ready their tax reform bill, expected to be revealed on Wednesday.
House and Senate Republicans are on a fast-track to pass separate tax bills before the Nov. 23 U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, iron out differences in December, send a final version to Trump's desk before January and ultimately hand the president his first major legislative victory.
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