European Outlook: Of yesterday’s key events it was the U.K. election that brought the biggest bombshell, with the U.K. heading for a hung parliament according to the latest projections. The Pound slumped, but FTSE 100 futures are moving higher, after a largely positive session in Asia, and modest gains on Wall Street yesterday. The Hang Seng was underperforming as U.K. linked shares dipped, but Hong Kong’s index is still heading for a weekly gain amid fears of overheating. Eurozone markets got a boost yesterday from the ECB’s dovish tone, which should put a rest to tapering talk at least for now. Reports that there won’t be an early election in Italy helped Italian bonds and stock markets to outperform. However, political uncertainty in the U.K. will also hang over Brexit talks and EU officials will likely rather want clarity about the U.K.’s negotiating positions as talks are set to start this month. JP Morgan previously argued that a hung parliament could ultimately support the pound if it leads to a coalition that takes a softer approach to Brexit, for now though the slump in the Pound should weigh on Gilts, while Bund futures continued to rise in after hour trade yesterday and should remain underpinned by the ECB’s cautious approach to exit steps. Today’s data calendar started with German trade early in the session, and French production, while later on we will see U.K. production and trade numbers.
UK election delivered an unexpected hung parliament outcome, based on projections with 600 of the 650 seats having been declared The Conservative Party is set to come in short of the 326-majority threshold with 316 seats, while Labour is set to come in with 265 (gaining 33), the LibDems with 13 (up five), and the SNP (Scottish National Party) with 34 seats (down 22). The pound lost 2% following exit polls last yesterday which accurately portended this outcome. A period of political deal making now lies ahead in the UK, which may be complicated by an uncertain fate of the prime minister, May, who has lost a lot of political capital after calling the snap election back in April and has seen a 20-point poll lead evaporate. The most obvious alliance would be a Tory-LibDem coalition, as was seen following the 2010 election, which would likely result in a net softer stance on Brexit. Uncertainty now looms., and the June 19 start date for EU exit negotiations looks to be in jeopardy. One takeaway forms the election is that a second Scottish independence referendum now looks a lot less likely, with the SNP having lost 22 seats.
ECB drops easing bias on rates, while leaving current policy rates and QE schedule unchanged. Draghi finally admitted that deflation risks have disappeared and removed the easing bias on rates, the doves are keeping a joker up their sleeves and maintain that QE can still be extended in duration or size. So not quite a neutral stance yet, despite the improvements noted for the growth outlook. In US on the other hand, the major event yesterday was Comey’s Testimony, which turned US Markets negative with both stocks and bonds. Comey started his testimony saying that defamation of him and the FBI by Trump publicly were outright “lies, plain and simple.”Trump lawyer Kasowitz released a press statement following Comey testimony, saying the testimony confirms Trump never sought to impede the Russia investigation, while Trump never directed or suggested Comey stop investigating anyone, including Flynn. Further, Trump never told Comey “I need loyalty” in form or substance. He also attacked Comey for admitting leaking “privileged communications” with Trump. Markets remain of two minds, wanting a relief rally on stocks, but cautious ahead of UK election returns.
Main Macro Events Today
- UK PM May Speech – UK Prime Minister Teresa May expected to give a speech today in London, about the UK general Elections.
- UK Production & trade Balance – April’s production data are out today, with Manufacturing Production anticipated to rise for April at 0.9% versus the -0.6% last month. Industrial data expected to rise as well at 0.8 % from -0.5 %. Goods trade Balance should increase slightly to -12B from -13.4B.
- Canadian Labour Data – May Employment Change for Canada should post a 11K headline, from 3.2K in April and down from 19.4K in March. The unemployment rate expected at 6.6% up from 6.5% in April.
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