March 17, 2017

Trump meets Merkel; G20 kicks off; Consumers confident?

1. Merkel in the White House: President Trump will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the first time on Friday.

The meeting could be awkward. Merkel is a forceful advocate for free trade and international cooperation, while Trump campaigned on an "America first" platform.

Trump has also accused the German chancellor of "ruining Germany" by welcoming Syrian refugees. More recently, his senior adviser said Germany was "exploiting" the euro.

Merkel was planning to take senior executives from BMW, Siemens and automotive supplier Schaeffler with her to help explain the benefits of America's trading relationship with Germany, and the European Union.

2. First G20 of the Trump era: U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is attending his first G20 meeting Friday. The two-day summit in Germany is a chance for leaders from the world's largest economies to hear directly from the Trump administration.

The key question: Will the group be able to reconcile its positions with Trump's anti-free trade rhetoric?

There is a chance the group may have to steer clear of trade issues entirely, leaving Trump and other heads of state to wrestle with the hot-button issue at future meetings.

3. Global market overview: U.S. stock futures were little changed Friday. European markets dropped in early trading, while Asian markets ended mixed.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 0.1% on Thursday, while the S&P 500 was down 0.2% and the Nasdaq was flat.

4. Earnings and economics: Tiffany & Co will release earnings before the opening bell on Friday. CEO Frederic Cumenal resigned in February in the wake of lousy financial results and weaker sales.

Tiffany said the drop was due "partly to post-election traffic disruptions" around its flagship 5th Avenue store near Trump Tower.

Adobe Systems shares were up 4.3% in premarket trading after the firm issued a well-received earnings report on Thursday.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is set to release its Industrial Production report for February at 9:15 a.m. ET.

The University of Michigan's consumer confidence index comes out at 10 a.m. It has spiked since Trump was elected.

5. Coming this week:

Friday - G20 meeting for finance ministers and central bankers

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