US equities opened unchanged

  • European equities traded stable near opening levels throughout dealings with France outperforming as investors scaled back worst case scenario bets ahead of this weekend's first presidential election round. US equities opened unchanged.

  • US eco data slightly disappointed. Weekly jobless claims rose from 234k to 244k (vs 240k expected), but remain near historically low levels. The Philly Fed business outlook declined from 32.8 to 22 in April while a more modest setback to 22 was forecast.

  • Dallas Fed President Kaplan said he still thinks 3 rate hikes are appropriate this year and advocates starting to wind down the balance sheet at the end of 2017/early 2018. Despite his generally hawkish profile, he said that the neutral rate may be closer to 2% than 3%.

  • North Korean state media warned the US of a "super‐mighty pre‐emptive strike" after US Secretary of State Tillerson said the United States was looking at ways to bring pressure to bear on North Korea over its nuclear programme.

  • Consensus is building towards agreement to extend an OPEC deal to limit output by three to six months as the producer group seeks to achieve its goal of bring down inventory stocks, Saudi Arabia's oil minister al‐Falih said.

  • In the first poll since PM May called the June 8 election the Conservative Party are enjoying a 24% lead. The poll from YouGov, taken between April 18‐19, shows voting intentions for the Conservative Party at 48% with Labour second at 24%.

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