Asian shares down ahead of Comey, ECB and United Kingdom election

USA stocks inched higher in midday trading Wednesday as gains in banks were partially outweighed by a slide in energy companies following a steep slump in crude oil prices.

People walk across a street in downtown of the Central, a business district of Hong Kong, Thursday, June 8, 2017.

Meanwhile, sterling fell against the dollar while market bets on how volatile the currency will be over the next 24 hours touched their highest in a year, as Britain voted in a national election that some polls have suggested is too close to call.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was down 0.27 percent while Japan's Nikkei .N225 rose 0.3 percent thanks to the dollar's rebound against the yen. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dipped 0.1 percent to 25,953.21 and the Shanghai Composite index in mainland China slipped 0.2 percent to 3,133.82. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $48.13 per barrel, down 5 cents, or 0.1 percent.

Oil prices remained weak, with Brent crude futures struggling around $50 per barrel, despite tensions between Gulf Arab producers and falling US inventories.

Retail Investors Increased Equity Exposure Last Month: The May Investor Movement Index (IMX), which tracks TD Ameritrade retail client activity, came out Monday and maintained its momentum.

The lead of British Prime Minister Theresa May over the opposition Labour Party ahead of the general election has narrowed to just one percentage point, according to a poll conducted before the attacks in London on Saturday.

Summer Trip to Europe: Stay tuned early Thursday for the European Central Bank (ECB), which is expected to deliver its latest analysis of Europe's economy and the ECB's monetary strategy at its meeting that day. Results aren't expected until Friday and an unexpected outcome could play havoc with global markets and the pound. No big changes are expected after officials said that the 19-nation eurozone's economy still needs support despite improvement.

Comey, the FBI director fired by U.S. President Donald Trump in May, will be grilled by the Senate Intelligence Committee on whether Trump tried to get him to back off an investigation into alleged ties between the president's 2016 campaign and Russian Federation.

With the VIX implied volatility index, the markets" so called "fear gauge' hovering just above 10%, similar arguments are being made about the United Kingdom election and the European Central Bank policy meeting later.

USA crude CLc1 was 0.6 percent lower at $47.12 a barrel on Tuesday, after falling 0.55 percent on Monday. Benchmark U.S. crude was down 45 cents at $45.33 a barrel.

Although the Pound, Euro and US Dollar have been weakened today, the Australian Dollar has not been in high demand because of this.

On Wednesday, U.S. inventories rose for the first time in 10 weeks , resuscitating concerns of a glut in the market.

Crude oil continues to wilt in the summer heat, sinking toward $47 a barrel early Tuesday.

Dow futures rose almost 10 points, while S&P and Nasdaq futures climbed 2 points and 14 points, respectively.

The news hit other department stores: J.C. Penney dropped 4.1 percent, Sears fell 2.5 percent and Nordstrom slid 3.6 percent.

U.S. Treasury yields edged higher after the ECB's upgrade of its euro zone growth forecast, with benchmark 10-year yields last at 2.201 percent compared to 2.180 percent late Wednesday.

  • Zachary Reyes