Traders play it safe ahead of Fed meeting

Tonight's minutes will give us an insight into why the US central bank decided to trim its bond-buying scheme, and we are likely to see low volumes and volatility until then. 

In mid-morning trading the FTSE 100 is down 20 points due to cautious traders ahead of the Federal Reserve minutes tonight. In London the focus is instead on corporate updates as we enter reporting season. 

Persimmon is pushing ahead, revealing a 21% jump in full-year revenues, no doubt assisted by the Help to Buy scheme. 

Mothercare is off 31% after the company issued yet another profit warning. 

Lloyds has gained 1% after a report suggesting that the government is looking to unwind its shareholding in the troubled lender. Given the success of the Royal Mail flotation, the disposal might come in the form of a general sale to the public. 

Sainsbury's announced a slight increase in like-for-like sales in the 14 weeks before January, while Lidl and Aldi are eating into their profits. 

In the US we are expecting the Dow Jones to open 20 points lower at 16,510. 

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