Opening Bell: Sterling's shock, fresh Brexit complications, Mario's plans

Get up to speed with today's breaking business news...

Sterling took a hammering last night shortly after 10:00pm when exit polls suggesting that the UK was set for a hung parliament were published.

Many traders had adopted pre-election positions based on the assumption that the Conservative Party would maintain or increase its majority.

After an initial 2% drop, it has recovered part of its value this morning as counts show that the swing towards Labour is slightly smaller than initially expected.

£1 currently buys €1.13.

______________________________________________________

The timeline for the UK's exit from the EU is now up in the air - as the Conservatives face a challenge to form a coallition government.

A British government may not be in place by June 19th, when detailed negotiations with Brussels' chief negotiator Michel Barnier are due to begin.

That start date could be pushed back - but doing so will make the challenge of negotiating a deal within two years more difficult.

Coalition negotiations may also require the Tories to soften their ultra-hard Brexit stance.

______________________________________________________

The European Central Bank is expecting strong economic growth and inflation across the euro zone this year.

It has also hinted that a monetary policy change could be around the corner.

The ECB has downgraded its expected 2017 inflation rate from 1.7% to 1.5% - but it is still edging towards the target 2% rate.

"We are now confident that inflation will converge with our objectives," ECB President Mario Draghi stated, suggesting that the central bank may be preparing a move away from its current expansive policies.

______________________________________________________

Bus Eireann faces a possible EU investigation of its school transport contract with the Department of Education, according to The Irish Times.

The semi-state company’s exclusive contract has come under fire in recent years from private sector operators who argue it should be put to tender.

A spokesperson for the EU Commission’s Internal Market Directorate confirmed it had received a complaint about the issue and was discussing it with the Irish authorities