Thursday morning snapshot

A snapshot of the early morning's equity news and key market movements.

Last night in the US: The Dow Jones closed down 206 points at 15,112, the NASDAQ finished up 38 points at 3443 and the S&P 500 ended the day down 22 points at 1628.

This morning in London: The FTSE 100 is currently down 76 points at 6272.

FX and commoditiesGBP/USD is down 44 pips at $1.5436, EUR/USD is down 51 pips at $1.3243 and USD/JPY is up 115 pips at Y97.58. Oil - Brent Crude is down 163 cents at $104.47 and gold is down $45 at $1328.

Latest news: The wait is finally over and weak equity markets in the US have been followed by a poor session in Asia and a negative start to trading in Europe. It is hard to believe that equity traders will be focused on much more than analysing the consequences of last night’s US Federal Reserve speech, and it is probably not until the afternoon session when US traders come back that we will begin to focus on much else.

Stocks: Ashtead Group has seen its profit explode up 87% and has subsequently raised its 2014 targets. Ted Baker has posted first-quarter sales up 32% and is confident of reaching its full-year target. It is worth remembering that it tends to be the clothing retailer's second-quarter sales that carry the most weighting to its annual figures. Dixons has increased sales in northern European and the UK, however these improving numbers have been countered by the continuing weakness of their southern European exposure.

The day ahead: Even with lots of economic data out today the majority of traders and investors’ focus will be on dissecting last night’s comments from Fed chairman Ben Bernanke. Over the course of the day there will be manufacturing PMI figures from the EU, France, Germany and the US. We will also see unemployment claims, existing home sales and the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index, all from the US. All figures as at 8.30am (London time).

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