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The Trump stock market; ECB tightrope; Brexit talks

Posted July 20

1. The Trump market: President Trump finishes his first six months in office on Thursday, and stock markets like what they see.

The Nasdaq closed at a record high on Wednesday to cap a nine-day winning streak. The S&P 500 also hit a new high.

The S&P 500 and Dow have gained roughly 9% since Trump took office, while the Nasdaq is up almost 15%.

The momentum could continue on Thursday. U.S. stock futures were pointing to another day of gains.

Still, there are doubts about Trump's economic agenda. Six months in, there has been little progress made on health care and tax reform.

2. ECB in focus: The European Central Bank will take the center stage on Thursday.

The bank is likely to keep interest rates steady when its meeting wraps up at 7:45 a.m. ET.

But investors will be on alert for any change in language when president Mario Draghi speaks at 8:30 a.m. ET.

The bank is expected to start winding down its stimulus program next year, and investors are anxious about the economic implications.

The central bank removed any reference to future interest rate cuts from its policy statement in June.

3. Brexit talks: The second round of divorce talks between Britain and the European Union wrap up on Thursday.

The two sides have been discussing key issues such as citizens' rights and the future of the border with Ireland.

Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier and U.K. Brexit secretary David Davis will give update on the talks later on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May and Treasury chief Philip Hammond will meet U.K. business leaders.

Brexit and the economy will be on the agenda at the first meeting of the new business council.

Some major firms have already announced they will move jobs out of Britain over Brexit. Others have delayed key investments.

4. Global market overview: European markets were mostly higher in early trading.

Asian markets ended the session mixed.

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5. Earnings and economics: Philip Morris International, Sherwin-Williams and Union Pacific are set to announce earnings before the open, while eBay, Microsoft and Visa will follow after the close.

Unilever reported a rise in sales and profits early on Thursday. Analysts have speculated that the company may become the target of a hostile takeover by Kraft Heinz, which walked away from an earlier bid in February.

The U.S. Department of Labor plans to release its initial claims report at 8:30 a.m. ET.

The Bank of Japan announced Thursday that it was keeping interest rates on hold.

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6. Coming this week:

Thursday -- Microsoft, eBay and Visa earnings; Carrier layoffs begin; ECB and Bank of Japan announce policy decisionsFriday -- General Electric and Honeywell earnings

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