Retail sector dominates market

Next has set the pace today by climbing 9% after upping its full-year profit target for the second time in five months. 

FTSE has mature 30th celebrations

The FTSE 100 is up 20 points, looking to close around the 6740 level. The index was created on the 3 January 1984 at a base level of 1000, and after its erratic teenage years it appears that the equity benchmark is beginning to mature and settle down. 

British homebuilders also advanced today as UK mortgage approvals surged to their highest level in almost six years.

Dow up ahead of Bernanke statement

In the US the Dow Jones is up 60 points at 16,503, ahead of Ben Bernanke’s announcement at 7.30pm (London time). Mr Bernanke is stepping down at the end of the month and he is not expected to rock the boat. Now that traders are aware that the Federal Reserve will be reducing its stimulus package, the focus is instead on the reporting season which Alcoa will kick off next week. 

Twitter is the talk of the town as stock borrowing is running low, which implies that we are at a top. 

China weighs on copper

Copper is in the red for a second day as softer-than-expected manufacturing data from China is still weighing on confidence.

Pessimistic outlook for Aussie

The Australian dollar is above the $0.9 mark due to short covering. The Aussie lost over 14% in 2013 and the outlook for 2014 isn’t much better.  

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