Just a week after Hurricane Harvey tore through residences across Texas, another massive hurricane is on the horizon, this time in Florida. Hurricane Irma is set to hit beaches as early as Sunday with expected damages to set a record in our country’s history. Gas shortages nationwide have continued as more pipelines and refineries are shuttered, causing oil and gold prices to rise as investors continue to flee to safe haven assets. Fortunately, the Senate managed to extend the debt-ceiling limit Wednesday as part of a bill to provide funds to Hurricane Harvey victims. Yields on Treasury bills fell before the decision, but positive sentiment followed after a deal was confirmed.
Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, spoke in the early morning Thursday and echoed the euro’s continued strength while explaining that inflation was doing “slightly better” than expected. He went on to say that the majority of future policy decisions would take place in October, but he reiterated that the UK’s exchange rate wouldn’t be one of the key metrics used by the ECB to do so. The euro surged throughout Draghi’s speech finishing the day up over 13% since the start of the year. The dollar hit a two-year low prior to the press conference.
In corporate news: GoPro (GPRO) shares surged nearly 20% in pre-market hours as the company announced its expected revenue and gross margins to be in the high-end range of its guidance. Uber faces regulatory issues after federal authorities opened up an investing into the alleged use of a spyware program designed to undermine competition such as Lyft and Via from 2014 to 2014. But if that sounded unethical, just wait. 3 Equifax managers sold $1.8 million worth of shares in the company before the cyber hack was revealed, calling into question the company’s disclosure policies as they leave information on about 143 million US consumers compromised.
The Department of Education ended a partnership with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which allowed the CFPB to sue and enforce fair practices on loan companies trying to collect on part of the $1.3 trillion student debt market. Congress and the Obama administration created the CFPB in 2010, after the financial crisis, in an effort to crack down on dodgy loan companies and to supervise businesses that had historically operated with little oversight, such as payday lenders and student loan servicers. Apparently, the government believes that such oversight is no longer necessary.
Bitcoin fell as much as 7.3% after reports claimed that China orders exchanges to shut. This represents the second blow to the $150 billion cryptocurrency market after the country outlawed initial coin offerings (ICOs) earlier this week.
Looking forward: All eyes will be on Hurricane Irma as it barrels through the Atlantic Ocean towards Florida. We all saw how immensely Harvey affected Gas prices and low-risk securities so it will be interesting to see if the market will react similarly. North Korea continues to pose threats to the world’s security. Markets worldwide will be waiting anxiously to see how the next week unfolds.