Trump's Search, Samsung Pardon, European Pipeline, Rivian - What's Moving Markets

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Trump's Search, Samsung Pardon, European Pipeline, Rivian - What's Moving Markets
Credit: © Reuters.

By Geoffrey Smith and Peter Nurse -- The search of Donald Trump's Florida house has been linked with nuclear documents, while a key Samsung official has been pardoned. U.S. stocks are set to open higher, while soaring energy prices could prompt the resumption of the construction of a gas pipeline between Spain and France. Here's what you need to know in financial markets on Friday, August 12.

1 Trump’s nuclear search

The row over the search of former President Donald Trump's home threatens to go nuclear!

U.S. federal agents were looking for documents relating to nuclear weapons when they searched Trump's Florida home earlier this week, according to a report in the Washington Post.

Trump said on Monday the "raid" was "not necessary or appropriate” as he was cooperating with the relevant government agencies, suggesting that the move was politically motivated.

The Presidential Records Act provides that official documents created or received by presidents or their top aides are U.S. property, rather than the personal property of the president, and should be deposited in the National Archives.

2 Samsung’s Lee pardoned

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee is a man in demand.

South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol pardoned the renowned businessman on Friday, with the justice ministry saying the business leader was needed to help overcome a "national economic crisis".

Lee is already out on parole after serving 18 months in jail for bribery, and thus the pardon could be seen as largely symbolic, but his return to favor could translate into some large investments from Samsung (KS: 005930 ), the world's biggest smartphone and memory-chip maker.

South Korea, Asia's fourth-largest economy is grappling with soaring inflation and weakening demand, and thus the sort of investment that Samsung could deliver would be very much welcomed.

3 Stocks to open higher; Rivian in focus

U.S. stock markets are set to open higher, amid growing hopes that inflation may have peaked, at least in annual terms.

By 06:25 ET (10:25 GMT), Dow Jones futures were up 105 points, or 0.3%, while S&P 500 futures were up 0.4% and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.5%. All three indices are on course for solid weekly gains in the wake of Wednesday’s lower-than-expected Consumer Price Index print.

Stocks likely to be in focus later include Rivian (NASDAQ: RIVN ), whose revenue figures late on Thursday indicated better-than-expected progress with its ramp-up, and Treasure Global (NASDAQ: TGL ), after an explosive debut which saw it rise as much as 350%. Gene-sequencing specialist Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN ) is set to open under pressure after a badly received update last night.

4 Spain-France gas pipeline could be ready by next summer

The threat of Russia pulling its gas from Europe has concentrated minds in the continent’s capitals, with a new pipeline linking Spain and France potentially opening by next summer.

"This new interconnection, this gas pipeline could be operating in about 8 or 9 months on the southern border side, that is, from the Pyrenean to Spain," said Spanish Energy Minister Teresa Ribera in an interview on Friday.

Initially launched in 2003, the pipeline was meant to transport gas from Algeria through Spain to the rest of the European Union. But following several years of work, the project was abandoned in 2019 following doubts about its environmental impact and profitability.

5 Oil Largely Unchanged; Russian oil shipments to resume

Crude oil prices were flat, after Russia’s pipeline operator Transneft indicated that oil shipments to three countries in central Europe could resume soon. Transneft was quoted by Russian newswires as saying that its payment of transit fees had been accepted by a European bank, apparently removing the bureaucratic obstacle that had led to shipments being stopped on August 4.

By 06:25 ET, U.S. crude futures were down 0.1% at $94.23 a barrel, while Brent futures were up 0.2% at $99.78 a barrel.

Baker Hughes ’ rig count and the CFTC ’s weekly positioning data round off the week. Last week’s numbers showed the largest weekly drop in operating oil rigs in nearly a year, and net speculative long positions in U.S. crude futures at their lowest level in over six years (albeit net longs in other energy contracts weren’t as low).

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