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Thursday 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 108 points at 16,481, the NASDAQ finished up 31 points at 4214 and the S&P 500 ended the day up nine points at 1848.

This morning in London: The FTSE 100 is currently down two points at 6817.

FX and commodities: GBP/USD is down 23 pips at $1.6345, EUR/USD is up three pips at $1.3607 and USD/JPY is up 18 pips at ¥104.74. Brent crude is down 31 cents at $105.90 and gold is trading at $1238, down $2.30.

Stocks: Dixons has posted figures reflecting strong sales over the Christmas period. Rio Tinto has gambled on an increase in Chinese growth by upping its annual iron-ore production. Home Retail Group has been able to post good sales figures, largely due to the impressive form of Argos. The company now makes half of its total sales online, and 20% of these are on mobile devices –  a demographic that will be the envy of all its competitors.  

The day ahead: The EU monthly bulletin is released this morning, along with the yearly CPI rate. This afternoon US unemployment claims will be posted, and later Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke will be speaking in Washington.

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

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