Markets Adjust After Anticipated Senate Hearings and ECB Report

Markets Adjust After Anticipated Senate Hearings and ECB Report

US stocks ended an up-and-down session - with surprisingly little changed in the end - while Treasuries fell and the dollar advanced as the European Central Bank decision and bombshell testimony from former FBI Director James Comey did little to impact the nation's financial markets.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 8.84 points, or 0.04 percent, to 21,182.53, the S&P 500 gained 0.65 points, or 0.03 percent, to 2,433.79 and the Nasdaq Composite added 24.38 points, or 0.39 percent, to 6,321.76.

The S&P 500 Index edged higher, with markets weighing Comey's testimony in front of a packed house for clues on the fate of the Trump administration’s policy agenda. Banks also advanced as the 10-year Treasury yield climbed to 2.20 percent. UK assets were weighed down by the risk of a shock outcome as British voters headed to the polls in a general "snap" election. And, the euro weakened after ECB President Mario Draghi signaled that inflation in the region remains tepid, overshadowing improved prospects for the economy.

Was it all just much ado about nothing - at least for the markets? In the day's most closely anticipated and watched event, James Comey, the ousted FBI director, had the opportunity to President Trump’s explanations for firing him “lies,” though his comments had little implications for financial markets. In another closely followed story today, the ECB’s earlier statement failed to have any lasting impact on assets as investors now turn their angst to the results of the UK election.

At a press conference after the ECB rates decision, President Draghi said risks to the euro-area economy were “broadly balanced,” while revising inflation forecasts weaker. The implication is that until they see stronger evidence of a recovery and a pickup in prices, policy makers will hesitate to shut off EU stimulus taps.

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