Top 5 Things to Know In the Market on Wednesday

1. FTSE struggles to hold gains for 2017 as U.K. prepares general elections

The U.K. House of Commons will vote later on Wednesday on British Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposal to hold general elections on June 8 in a move designed to increase her support as Britain moves forward with negotiations to leave the European Union (EU), known as Brexit.

May is widely expected to receive approval to hold the elections as the opposition party has already agreed to the proposal.

Tuesday’s announcement sent the pound to a six-month high which in turn hammered the London benchmark FTSE 100, wiping out around £46 billion ($58.98 billion) in value. A stronger pound dampens earnings for British blue-chips when profits in other currencies are brought back home.

Though the pound slipped against the dollar on Wednesday, the FTSE 100 briefly erased gains, slipping below the 7,142.83 point-level with which it closed out 2016 as it hit an intraday low of 7,127.25.

The index managed to recover and, by 6:07AM ET (10:07GMT), was up 0.17% at 7,086.2 points.

2. Earnings in focus as Morgan Stanley steps up to the plate

Markets will continue to digest a string of earnings reports on Wednesday with the spotlight on Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) after Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) disappointed investors in the previous session.

Also on the docket, eyes will also focus on the likes of BlackRock Inc (NYSE:BLK), Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) or US Bancorp (NYSE:USB) before the open, along with American Express (NYSE:AXP), eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) after the close.

IBM (NYSE:IBM), which reported after Tuesday’s close, looked set to lead the Dow lower. Shares in the blue-chip tech firm fell 4.7% in pre-market trade on Wednesday after it registered a bigger-than-expected drop in sales in what was its 20th consecutive quarter of declining revenue.

3. Beige Book to provide Fed with view on U.S. economy

In a light session for economic data, market players looked ahead to the publication of the Beige Book at 2:00PM ET (18:00GMT).

The publication is always published two weeks ahead of the monetary policy meeting and is meant to give the U.S. central bank a glance into the state of the economy in the 12 districts of the Federal Reserve (Fed).

A recent string of weak data caused both the Atlanta and New York Fed to cut forecasts for growth of the American economy in the first quarter ahead of the advanced reading out on April 28.

Not only do markets currently rule out policy tightening at the May 2-3 meeting, but sluggish data served to push back bets for the first rate hike until September, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool.

The dollar held onto gains against other major currencies on Wednesday in a slight retracement to its recent bearish trend, while gold reacted to the downside to the greenback’s recovery.

4. Oil pulls back from 2-week low ahead of inventory data

Oil pulled back from a two-week low on Wednesday as investors looked ahead to weekly data on U.S. crude inventories.

After markets closed Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute said that U.S. oil inventories fell by a larger-than-expected 840,000 barrels in the week ended April 14.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its official weekly oil supplies report at 10:30AM ET (14:30GMT) Wednesday. If the draw is confirmed, it would be the second straight weekly decline.

The data comes also as market participants await the meeting this coming weekend of OPEC’s technical committee that evaluates compliance with the deal reached last November and begun in 2017 between OPEC and other producers, including Russia agreed to cut output by about 1.8 million barrels per day between January and June.

A final decision on whether to extend the deal is not expected to arrive until the official OPEC meeting on May 25 in Vienna.

U.S. crude oil futures gained 0.34% to $52.59 at 6:08AM ET (10:08GMT), while Brent oil traded up 0.44% to $55.13.

5. Global stocks mixed as equities attempt to stage recovery

Japan’s Nikkei 225 managed to steady for the moment, although Shanghai extended its recent retreat with a drop of 0.8%. The Chinese market has fallen for four straight sessions on concerns over tighter regulations.

European stocks managed a small recovery Wednesday despite continued political uncertainty concerning French and British elections.

U.S. futures pointed to a slightly higher open. At 6:09AM ET (10:09GMT), the blue-chip Dow futures gained 0.18%, S&P 500 futures rose 0.30% and the Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 0.35%.

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