Investing.com - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Wednesday, May 31:
1. Pound under pressure on election jitters
The British pound dropped on Wednesday after a new poll found that British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party risks falling short of an overall majority in the June 8 national election.
New constituency-by-constituency modeling by YouGov showed the Conservative Party might lose 20 of the 330 seats it holds while the opposition Labour Party could gain nearly 30 seats, The Times said.
The news came after a string of opinion polls show a narrowing lead for May's Conservatives, shaking the confidence among investors that she would easily win a majority in the election.
2. Oil slumps 1% ahead of inventory data
Oil prices fell more than 1% on Wednesday, as rising output from Libya added to concerns about increasing U.S. production that is undermining OPEC-led production cuts aimed at tightening the market.
Investors also looked ahead to stockpile data from the American Petroleum Institute out later in the session. The report is released one day later than usual due to the Memorial Day holiday on Monday.
Official crude inventories from the Energy Information Administration will also be published one day later than normal on Thursday.
3. China’s manufacturing data ease worries of slowdown
China's industrial engine cranked up again in May, reassuring investors worried about slowing growth in the world's second-biggest economy as it grappled with debt risks and tried to shake off a stinging ratings downgrade from Moody's Investors Service.
Moody's sees an improving global outlook even as it warned of a slowdown in China later in the year as liquidity-tightening measures take effect.
China's official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the manufacturing and services sectors eased worries about a sudden slowdown after a run of weak readings of April data. The manufacturing PMI was at 51.2 in May, beating forecasts of 51.0.
4. Global stocks show mixed trade as May comes to a close
European stocks were mostly higher on Wednesday, after the release of upbeat Chinese data lifted market sentiment, although U.K. political jitters ahead of the June 8 election were expected to limit upside.
Earlier, Asian shares closed mixed on Wednesday even as China re-opened after a two-day break and brought along some upbeat economic news. China's Shanghai Composite gained 0.2%, while Japan's Nikkei ended 0.2% lower.
Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures pointed to flat open with mixed signs on Wednesday. April pending home sales and the Fed's Beige Book will be released later in the session.. At 5:54AM ET (9:54GMT), the blue-chip Dow futures slipped 0.01%, S&P 500 futures inched up 0.03% and the Nasdaq 100 futures gained 0.14%.
5. European unemployment rate hits 8-year low
The unemployment rate for the euro zone ticked down to 9.3% in April, from 9.4% in March 2017 and down from 10.2% in April 2016. That was its lowest level since March 2009.
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