The US House of Representatives passed a tax plan on Thursday that slashed the top corporate rate all the way to 20.00%. However, remaining doubts weighed on investor sentiment amid disagreements between the House and the Senate. On the inflation front, both the core CPI and PPI numbers topped estimates, helping bolster the likelihood of a December rate hike. Retail sales grew 0.20% in October, while housing starts and permits both recorded unexpected gains. In earnings news, tech companies stood out, with Cisco returning to growth and pressing ahead with its subscription model transition. Elsewhere, Wal-Mart popped 10.00% after unveiling a 2.70% jump in like-for-like sales and a spike in online sales.
Across the globe in China, Beijing’s efforts to curb lending and control air pollution cooled the economy further in October. Three key monthly indicators — industrial production, retail sales and fixed asset investment — fell significantly from September, coming in below forecasts. European stocks started the week on a weak note but recovered on Thursday, buoyed by the Euro’s strength against the greenback following German GDP figures for the third quarter that topped projections. In the UK, investors remained unsettled about the stalemate in Brexit negotiations and the fragility of Prime Minister Theresa May’s leadership. Meanwhile, Brent crude experienced a spike in volatility after the IEA lowered its demand forecasts alongside Russia wavering on the need to extend production cuts.