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Markets Remain Fairly Flat as Comey Dust Settles

All eyes are on U.S. President Donald Trump who garnered international attention on Tuesday for the firing of FBI Director James Comey who has been openly leading an investigation into whether the Trump camp conspired with Russia to influence presidential campaign results last year.  White House officials denied that the firing was politically motivated while Trump claimed that his decision was based upon Comey’s handling of the email scandal surrounding Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.  Comey’s tenure was set to end in 2023.  

Despite the political firestorm set off by Trump’s decision, strong corporate earnings kept trading fairly stable, with traders choosing to focus on the economy rather than politics.  With most earnings reports in for S&P 500 companies, estimated Q1 earnings growth stands at 14.5 percent, the highest since the third quarter of 2011.  According to a Thomson Reuters report, approximately 75 percent of companies beat analysts’ expectations in Q1.

MSCI’s broadest index of shares outside Japan was up 0.3 percent on Wednesday morning and Japanese stocks neared 17-month highs as the yen weakened on market sentiment. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up .82 percent in Tuesday’s Asian session.  

Positive data also buoyed markets in Europe on Tuesday, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index up 0.5 percent and France’s CAC 40 index up 0.4 percent.  European earnings have also been very strong this quarter, with an average earning thus far of about 20 percent, after around half of the companies have reported. 

The dollar was trading at 113.79 yen as of 7:13 a.m. GMT, down around 0.2 percent.  The euro was trading at $1.0889, up 0.17 percent during the session.  

Sara Patterson
About Sara Patterson
Sara Patterson has a Master’s Degree in political science and enjoys analyzing both current events and the international markets to get a fuller perspective of the currency market. Before turning to financial writing, she taught English writing skills to high-school age students. Sara’s work has been published on various financial and Forex blogs.

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