1. China GDP: The Chinese economy picked up steam in the first quarter, with GDP up 6.9% from a year earlier.
That’s the fastest pace of growth since the third quarter of 2015 and slightly above what some economists had been predicting.
China’s ruling Communist Party has been prioritizing economic stability ahead of a key leadership reshuffle later this year when President Xi Jinping’s second term in power will start. But the International Monetary Fund and other agencies have urged the Chinese government to focus on tackling the country’s high levels of corporate debt.
The Shanghai Composite lost 0.7% on Monday, while the tech-heavy Shenzhen Composite shed 1.4%.
2. North Korea tensions: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has issued a warning to North Korea after a failed attempted missile launch by the country on Sunday.
Pence, who was in South Korea, said that Pyongyang should not test the resolve of the U.S. “or the strength of our military forces.”
Increased tensions in the region, along with the deterioration in relationship between the U.S. and Russia and attacks in Syria, have forced investors to look for safe havens assets.
Gold, the Japanese yen and the Swiss franc all gained in early trading on Monday.
3. Moneygram sweetens bid: Chinese firm Ant Financial on Monday upped its offer to $1.2 billion for MoneyGram, one of the most popular avenues for sending money from the U.S. to Mexico and other countries.
The original deal struck in January was for $880 million, but U.S. rival Euronet Worldwide jumped in last month with an unsolicited $1 billion offer.
4. Global market overview: U.S. stock futures are edging lower.
Most European markets are closed for a holiday. Asian markets ended mixed.
Turkey’s main stock market advanced 1% after a referendum to expand the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saw the “yes” side winning by the slimmest of margins.
The Turkish lira also strengthened in response.
U.S. crude oil futures were down 0.9% to trade at $52.70 per barrel.
5. Earnings and economics: United Continental Holdings, the owner of United Airlines, will release its quarterly report after the closing bell on Monday, a week after becoming embroiled in a turbulent PR nightmare.
The company will hold a conference call with investors on Tuesday.
Netflix will also report after the markets close on Monday. Sales for last quarter are expected to clock in at $2.6 billion, up from $2 billion this time last year.
6. Coming this week:
Monday – China GDP; United Airlines, Netflix earnings
Tuesday – U.S. Tax Day; United Airlines analyst call, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and IBM report earnings
Wednesday – U.S. Crude oil inventories report, Morgan Stanley, BlackRock, eBay, American Express publish results
Thursday – Mattel earnings report
Friday – U.S. release of Samsung’s Galaxy S8