Traders gear up for Christmas rally

Despite the absence of the ever optimistic US traders yesterday the FTSE still managed to edge up 18 points, and over in Europe the DAX continued its aggressive climb setting new records. 

This morning’s disappointing German retail sales have done nothing to calm the enthusiasm. The UK has posted worse-than-expected M4 money supply figures and soft monthly individual lending figures too, although mortgage approvals have come in as expected. 

Yesterday’s thin markets have continued today and the big movers on the FTSE have done so without really being driven by sentiment. JD Sports has enjoyed the benefits of the recession and the sliding standards as they feel confident of meeting market expectations. Hammerson has raised $443 million in a private placing, with US investors eager to gain exposure to the UK property markets. Premier Oil is also looking to raise funds aiming to place £100 million of new bonds, and there has been a management shake-up at Speedy Hire as the CEO is stepping down to be replaced by the current CFO.

Black Friday in America will no doubt see shops packed to the rafters as the US spends following the Thanksgiving festivities. This barometer of retail spending power will be closely monitored as analysts try to guage the likely spend over the month of December. Markets will be up and running today but in reality many will use this as an excuse to take a long weekend. 

Ahead of the open, we expect the Dow Jones to open seven points higher at 16,104.

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