Dollar Stronger After Comey Testimony, UK Election; Pound Tumbles Nearly 2%

Traders watch the James Comey hearing Thursday on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

USA stocks opened little changed on Thursday after the European Central Bank signaled no further interest rate cuts as euro zone prospects improved, while investors awaited former FBI Director James Comey's testimony.

Sterling slumped by about 2 cents to $1.27 after the poll suggested May's Conservative Party would not win enough seats in Parliament to take office alone, a shock result that would plunge domestic politics into turmoil and could complicate Brexit talks.

On the eve of his appearance on Capitol Hill, Comey said Trump had raised the sensitive Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into Russia's alleged meddling in the United States election in multiple discussions, leaving him deeply uneasy over whether the president was attempting to interfere. The Dow briefly hit a record intraday high of 21,265.69 during his testimony, while the Nasdaq Composite closed at a record high after a boost from Yahoo and Nvidia shares.

Earlier on Thursday, the European Central Bank signaled no further interest rate cuts as euro zone prospects improved, but said subdued inflation meant it would continue to pump more stimulus into the region's economy.

"Comey might move the markets in the short term but I don't think it's going to affect the intrinsic values of what many large US businesses are worth", said Mattioli. So it's not particularly impactful for thinking about. Comey's testimony may give clues on how politically effective the Trump administration will be in refocusing attention on its policy agenda. It was down 0.3 percent in afternoon trading.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 13 points, or 0.22 percent, on volume of 16,168 contracts.

Index, a market-based estimate of future price swings, fell 1.6 percent to 10.22; that brought it closer to a 9.75 close earlier this month that was its lowest in more than two decades.

S&P 500 e-mini futures fell 0.15 percent, while prices of US 10-year Treasury futures rose. "Major risks lie ahead for the pound, and for risk-sensitive assets globally".

'Qatar must do more to combat extremism,' says Tillerson
He also said in another tweet that his recent visit to Saudi Arabia was "paying off" due to his warnings on funding terror. The U.S. could potentially indirectly destroy Qatar by continuing to approve billion dollar arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt and Paris were mixed after the European Central Bank decided, as expected, to keep its ultralow interest rates unchanged and said it would continue its 60-billion-euro ($67.4 billion) monthly bond purchases to December.

The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the USA currency against 16 others, edged up 0.1% to 88.21.

Oil edged up, having hit one-month lows the previous day after an unexpected surge in USA inventories and the return of more Nigerian crude to an already oversupplied market.

Brent crude settled down 20 cents, or 0.42 percent, at $47.86 per barrel.

Gold prices are weaker in pre-U.S. -session trading Thursday, on some profit taking from recent gains.

China reported a trade data surplus of $40.81 billion, narrower than the $46.32 billion expected, but wider than the $38.05 billion seen last month with exports up 8.7%, more than the 7.0% gain seen and imports up 14.8%, beating the 8.5% gain seen year-on-year.

Gold futures for August delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 0.47%, to $1,287.11 a troy ounce.

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