Investing.com - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Wednesday, June 21:
1. Oil slips further into bear market ahead of inventory data
Oil continued to edge down on Wednesday after West Texas Intermediate officially closed in bear market territory the prior session. U.S. crude officially closed down 21% on Tuesday from a $55.24 per barrel high touched on January 3.
The steady increase in U.S. shale production coupled with output gains from Libya and Nigeria, who are exempt from the OPEC-led production cut agreement, stoked worries over the supply glut.
Meanwhile, markets had a muted reaction to news that Saudi Arabia has relieved Muhammad bin Nayef as crown prince, replacing him with Mohammad bin Salman in a sudden shift that made King Salman’s 31-year old son next in line to rule the world’s largest oil exporter.
Markets also looked ahead to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s release of its official weekly oil supplies report at 10:30AM ET (14:30GMT) Wednesday, amid expectations for a drawdown of around 2.1 million barrels.
After markets closed Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute said that U.S. oil inventories fell by a more-than-expected 2.72 million barrels in the week ended June 16.
2. Pound struggles to hold $1.26 amid political instability
The pound briefly dropped below $1.26 on Wednesday, passing below that level for the first time since mid-April when U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May called snap elections in what turned out to be a move that cost her Conservative party the majority in the government.
On the back of yesterday’s drop in sterling that took cable below 1.27 due to the Bank of England governor Mark Carney’s insistence that it was not the time to raise rates, investors showed concern over apparent tensions between the Conservative party and Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party as they attempt to hammer out a deal to lead the government forward in Brexit negotiations.
The Queen’s Speech was scheduled to take place at 6:30AM ET (10:30GMT) and was expected to focus precisely on the negotiations with the European Union as they try to reach agreements in the lead up to Britain’s departure from the bloc.
GBP/USD was last down 0.10% at 1.2618 by 5:57AM ET (9:57GMT), after hitting an intraday low of 1.2590 earlier.
3. Uber CEO resigns on investor pressure
Uber Technologies co-founder Travis Kalanick stepped down as chief executive under intense pressure from five of the firm’s large investors that called for his resignation.
Kalanick had faced increased scrutiny in recent weeks following an investigation into the culture and workplace practices at the ride-services company he helped start in 2009 and is now the world's most highly valued startup.
Uber had hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to look into company practices after a female former employee publicly accused the company of what she described as brazen sexual harassment.
4. Global stocks follow Wall Street lower, oil dampens risk appetite
Global traded mostly lower on Wednesday, following Wall Street’s lead from the prior session, as oil’s official entrance into bear-market territory dampened risk appetite.
European equities traded sharply lower on Wednesday, led by losses in the financial sector as an ongoing decline in oil prices weighed on energy stocks. At 5:57AM ET (9:57GMT), the European benchmark Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.93%, the DAX shed 0.60%, the CAC 40 traded down 1.02% while London's FTSE 100 lost 0.30%.
Earlier, China’s Shanghai Composite was an exception to the rule as the index closed with gains of 0.5% thanks to news that MSCI would include Chinese stocks in emerging market indices.
5. Dollar takes breather during break from the Fed
The dollar held steady against the other major currencies on Wednesday, as investors were eyeing the release of U.S. housing sector data due later in the day and received a break from a week filled with remarks from Federal Reserve (Fed) officials.
May existing home sales will be the only economic report of reference for market players at 10:00AM ET (14:00GMT) Wednesday in a week that has been sparse in major data points.
To the contrary, Wednesday marked a pause in what has been a deluge of conflicting comments from Fed policymakers.
Among the most market-moving remarks, New York Fed president William Dudley gave support to the dollar on Monday as he reinforced expectations for rate hikes, though Chicago Fed chief Charles Evans followed up with indications that he felt the central bank could wait until the end of the year for further increases.
Still ahead this week, Fed governor Jerome Powell is due to speak before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday, while Friday will see St. Louis Fed president James Bullard, Cleveland Fed president Loretta Mester and Fed governor Powell make public remarks.
At 5:59AM GMT (9:59GMT), the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down just 0.07% at 97.33.
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