Wednesday morning snapshot

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

Last night in the US: The Dow Jones closed up 105 points at 16,530, the NASDAQ finished up 39 points at 4153 and the S&P 500 ended the day up 11 points at 1837.

This morning in London: The FTSE 100 is currently down 11 points at 6744.

FX and commodities: GBP/USD is up 20 pips at $1.6422, EUR/USD is down four pips at $1.3609 and USD/JPY is up 42 pips at ¥105.01. Brent crude is up 22 cents at $107.54 and gold is trading at $1226, down $4.95.

Stocks: Sainsbury's saw Christmas sales increase slightly, but not at a rate that will set any records. Scottish & Southern Energy has promised to cut energy costs following the government’s proposal to remove some of the tax burden. Mothercare has once again missed its profit forecast, flying in the face of the current baby boom. Persimmon, the first of the house builders to report, has unsurprisingly announced excellent figures.

The day ahead: We have plenty to look out for today. It will be interesting to see if the EU monthly retail sales figures come in as bullishly as the German figures yesterday, and whether EU unemployment figures remain above 12%. Then we will have the opportunity to view the FOMC minutes from last month’s meeting, which was the occasion when it finally agreed to start tapering.

All figures correct at 8.30am. All times London time.

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