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Was it only a month ago Theresa May categorically denied the possibility of calling a snap election? Ah, such simpler times.

Mrs May on Tuesday called a snap general election for June 8, giving her an opportunity to win a direct mandate for the first time to be prime minister. She took power last July without a public vote after David Cameron resigned. The latest polling data shows that if the election were held now, the conservatives would have a 21-point lead, with 44 per cent of the vote, compared with Labour’s 23 per cent.

On Wall Street stocks retreated on Tuesday with the S&P 500 down 0.3 per cent, led by the healthcare and financial sectors after poorly received results from Goldman Sachs and Johnson & Johnson. Treasuries, yen and gold rose, while sterling briefly topped $1.29 after Mrs May called the snap election.

The outlook is less than stellar for Asia Pacific equities on Wednesday, with futures tipping the S&P/ASX 200 index in Sydney to drop 0.7 per cent at the open, while Tokyo’s Topix is set to drop the same amount and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is expected to fall 0.1 per cent when trading starts.

Corporate earnings reports out today include Ichigo, Daiwa House REIT, Shenzhen Kingdom Sci-Tech and CapitaLand Commercial Trust.

The economic calendar for Wednesday is recommended by nine out of ten dentists (all times Hong Kong):

  • 08.30: Australia Westpac leading index
  • 09.30: Australia new motor vehicle sales
  • 12.00: Malaysia consumer inflation
  • The Philippines central bank balance of payments is also expected today.

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