By Tanya Agrawal
U.S. stocks pared early gains to trade little changed in late morning trading on Wednesday as oil prices fell, while investors remained cautious ahead of major political and economic events on Thursday.Britain's general election, the European Central Bank's policy meeting and former FBI Director James Comey's testimony before a Senate panel are all on market's radar.The election could determine whether the country has a smooth or hard exit from the European Union. Opinion polls have shown British Prime Minister Theresa May's lead over the opposition Labor party narrow over the last three weeks, with some even suggesting she could fall short of a majority government."If the Conservative party extends its majority, markets will be pretty calm, but anything less than that is going to have people worried about how we approach the Brexit negotiation," said Luke Hickmore, senior investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management.Comey's first public appearance since he was fired by U.S. President Donald Trump might shed more light on a probe by the FBI into alleged Russian meddling in last year's U.S. presidential election.Any damaging revelation in Comey's testimony could dampen already flagging momentum for Trump's pro-business fiscal agenda.
"I think the Comey news led to an initial surprise but the rebound was equally swift," said Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab & Co."I'm not sure that unless Comey says something completely shocking or he suggests something that there's no way the House can't consider obstruction of justice ... aside from that I don't see his testimony as market moving."The ECB will also hold its policy meeting on Thursday and is expected to reiterate its plan to extend the money-printing scheme at least until the end of the year.Sonders said any impact from Thursday's events is likely to be short term.
At 11:02 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 11.01 points, or 0.05 percent, at 21,147.24 and the S&P 500 .SPX was up 1.48 points, or 0.06 percent, at 2,430.81.The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 17.17 points, or 0.27 percent, at 6,292.23.Five of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were lower, with the energy index's .SPNY 1.26 percent fall leading the decliners.Oil prices fell nearly 4 percent on renewed concerns about the efficacy of OPEC-led production cuts due to rising tensions within the export group over Qatar and growing U.S. output.
Oil majors Exxon (XOM.N) and Chevron (CVX.N) were down about 1 percent and were among the biggest drags on the S&P and the Dow.However, Apple's (AAPL.O) 0.5 percent rise helped offset some of those losses.Shares of Navistar International (NAV.N) were down 1.7 percent at $29.43 after the truck and engine maker posted a quarterly loss.Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,357 to 1,352. On the Nasdaq, 1,563 issues rose and 1,095 fell.The S&P 500 index showed 28 new 52-week highs and 11 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 82 new highs and 70 new lows. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)
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Updated Date: Jun 07, 2017 22:03 PM