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 88 points at 16,336, the NASDAQ finished up 53 points at 4333 and the S&P 500 ended the day up 13 points at 1872.

This morning in London: The FTSE 100 is currently down 20 points at 6584.

FX and commodities: GBP/USD is up four pips at $1.6597, EUR/USD is down nine pips at $1.3924 and USD/JPY is up 13 pips at ¥101.55. Brent crude is down 11 cents at $106.63 and gold is trading at $1353, down $1.50.

Stocks: Mining company Anglo American and a number of companies, including British Land and Intercontinental Hotels, have gone ex-dividend today. Technology company Smiths Group has seen its first-half profits fall by 3%, dampened by the rising strength in sterling and higher costs. Standard Chartered has launched its first Islamic Bank in Kenya as its initial foray into this market. Most eyes will be on today’s UK Budget rather than specific equity news.

The day ahead: Today is Budget day in the UK and markets are expecting few surprises. The recent trend has seen the vast majority of details leaked to the press ahead of its release. Today will also see the announcement of the latest unemployment rate and the voting for the last Monetary Policy Committee meeting. Keeping it a very full day, the afternoon session will see the latest US Federal Open Market Committee economic outlook and the FOMC statement.

All figures correct at 8.15am. All times London time.

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