Most US stocks rose modestly overnight (07/06) as gains in banking shares were stronger than the slump in energy companies that was caused by oil prices sliding 5 percent to a one-month low on Wednesday (07/06). This decline came after an unexpected increase in US crude inventories. Today (08/06) crude oil is slightly recovering. However, market participants are very careful at the start of trading on Thursday.
Asian markets opened lower on Thursday (08/06) with many investors being in "wait and see-mode" on what has been labelled "Super Thursday" as there are several big events that take place today and can - potentially - have a big impact on markets.
Firstly, former FBI Director Comey is set to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee later today. He will shed light on whether US President Donald Trump urged him to drop an investigation into former national security advisor Michael Flynn's ties with Russia. Comey was fired by Trump in May 2017, possibly because he did not obey Trump. Comey's opening remarks have already been released by the committee. According to Comey, Trump said "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty". Comey's testimony will provide information on whether Trump has been engaged in obstruction of justice (an act that could lead to impeachment hearings).
Secondly, Britain goes to the polls today for general elections. Each of the 650 parliamentary constituencies are to elect one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons, the lower house of Parliament. Initially, polls suggested an easy victory for Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative party (which would give her a stronger hand in Britain's Brexit negotiations). However, recent polls show a narrower lead. Analysts believe the British pound will be hurt if the vote does not produce any clear winner.
Thirdly, the European Central Bank (ECB) is set to meet today and may take a more benign view of the economy.
Other news items that were reported today include Japan's (disappointing) revised Q1-2017 gross domestic product growth of +1 percent year-on-year (y/y), versus expectations of 2.4 percent (y/y), and North Korea that, allegedly, fired multiple land-to-ship missiles off its east coast earlier today (less than a week after the UN security council passed fresh sanctions on the country). Despite disappointing GDP data from Japan, the Nikkei 225 index started in the green on the back of the weaker yen.