Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day
Want to receive this post in your inbox every morning? Sign up here.
U.K. Tories may lose majority, Comey and Trump trade accusations, and ECB drops key guidance. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.
The U.K. headed to the polls on Thursday, with Prime Minister Theresa May looking to pad the Conservative Party's majority to bolster her position in Brexit negotiations. An early exit poll suggested the Tories would fall short of a majority. This was thought to be the worst-case outcome for the British pound, which duly sold off sharply on the news. Investors have been forced to prepare for a wide range of possible results. Big Ben will have already struck midnight by the time we get a good sense of whether the Tories are making gains in traditional Labour territory, or whether there's an upset brewing. Here's where you can see the results as they come in.
There were fireworks galore as former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, shedding more light on some of his private conversations with U.S. President Donald Trump. Comey declined to say whether he thought the president was looking to obstruct justice, deferring to others including the special counsel conducting a criminal investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. election. But Comey said he took the president's "hope" that he would be able to let former national security adviser Michael Flynn go as "direction" on what he should do. He also accused Trump of lying; the president returned the favor via a statement released by his personal lawyer following Comey's testimony.
The European Central Bank removed language suggesting more rate cuts could be in the offing in a sign the central bank is moving closer to a withdrawal of unconventional stimulus. During a news conference ECB President Mario Draghi called the risks to the growth outlook "broadly balanced" but emphasized that inflation in the region is still sluggish, justifying the "very substantial degree" of monetary stimulus. The ECB's communiques did little to buoy the euro, which was the second-worst performing G10 currency on the day.
Stocks Go Nowhere
It was no 'Super Thursday' for U.S. assets. The S&P 500 index and 10-year Treasury yields inched higher as the jam-packed news day failed to cause any large gyrations in financial assets. West Texas Intermediate front-month oil futures crept lower to close below $46 per barrel for the second day in a row. As of 5:30 a.m. Tokyo time, Nikkei 225 and S&P/ASX 200 futures were pointing to a positive open.
Chinese consumer and producer price data for April, expected to decelerate to annual paces of 5.6 and -1 percent, respectively. Japan's tertiary industry activity index is projected to bounce back from March's monthly dip of 0.2 percent with a gain of 0.5 percent. Also due out: the monthly change in Australian home loans for April, anticipated to fall 1 percent on the heels of March's 0.5 percent monthly decline. April's reading of Malaysian industrial production, meanwhile, is forecast to pick up, with growth of 4.8 percent year-on-year, two-tenths of a percentage point higher than March's rate.
What we’ve been reading
This is what caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
How eight elite nerds will deliver Britain's election projection.
Alibaba's big sales forecast.
Brazil's unrivaled corruption machine.
Another potential Dimon successor bites the dust at JPMorgan.
Qatar defiant in face of pressure.
U.S. to rule on risk of Chinese cash in acquisition.
How restauranteurs go for Instagram glory.