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Treasurys, Stocks Fluctuate Amid Political Tensions, Slow Recovery in Economic Data

US financial markets were relatively quiet during Wednesday’s trading session as investors await further details on the economy’s recovery via this Friday’s release of May payroll data. In the meantime, market participants attempted to navigate the myriad unsettled political issues at hand for the Trump administration.  All three major US stock indices finished marginally lower on the day, weighed down largely by shares of financial firms whose prices slid after JPMorgan reported an unexpected decline in trading revenue for the beginning of the second quarter.  Energy stocks also posted significant losses in response to a 2%-3% drop in the price of crude oil, as the effectiveness of the production cut agreement amongst Russia and the OPEC members continues to be viewed with skepticism.  Treasurys traded within a tight range throughout the session, with the yield on the 10-year note remaining near 2.20%.

Economic data releases on the day were limited, highlighted by pending home sales data which displayed a second straight monthly decline of contracts to purchase previously owned homes in the US.  As per the report from the National Association of Realtors, the index of Pending Home Sales fell 1.3% during the month of April, with the number of contracts falling in every region except the West, which saw a 5.8% uptick in pending sales.  Despite the addition of today’s data to that of other recent soft home building and sales data, the general housing market outlook remains robust.  A shortage of inventories continues to be the central impediment for the market, while tightening labor conditions continue to drive demand.

Across the pond, the United Kingdom saw its currency fall to a five-week low after an analysis published by YouGov Plc suggested that Theresa May would lose the majority vote if the current polling was realized at the June 8th general election vote.  YouGov Plc’s model was generated with the intention of eliminating inherent inconsistencies between polling and actual voting, and has been credited with correctly forecasting the Brexit Referendum last year.  Overall, the most recent projections have the Conservative Party leading Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party by 4 to 12 points, depending on the polling company, a significant drop-off from the 20-point advantage a few weeks ago.  The pound fell to as low as $1.2778 per GBP before recovering the majority of losses.  

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