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FTSE drops 65 points

The index has given back almost all of the ground it made yesterday when it climbed towards its highest close for 13 years, as the heady highs of 1999 appear to have been too much for most traders. 

Home builders compete

In the ultimate demonstration of one-upmanship, Persimmon has posted profits up 49% for the year trouncing yesterday’s Bovis Homes profits growth of a mere 48%. Following this we can only speculate as to what Taylor Wimpey will announce on Wednesday.  

Mining stocks, on the other hand, make up the top five fallers in the FTSE, as continuing wobbles from China hint towards further cooling for commodity demands. 

Investment management firm St James's Place has increased its dividend by 50% following an increase in profits of 26%, giving the markets ample reason to move the shares up over 6% on the day.

US markets lose momentum

The S&P 500 surprised many with its intraday all-time high blip yesterday, but, like its European cousins, today it appears to have reacted with a touch of vertigo. This afternoon’s softer Richmond Manufacturing Index and weaker Conference Board Consumer Confidence figures have given traders no reason to embark on a swift return to these highs, either. 

JPMorgan has updated the markets on its targets, following further cost-cutting measures and job cuts. They are now looking to increase last year’s profits from $18 billion up to $27 billion. 

Home Depot has also given investors reason to cheer, with fourth-quarter estimate beating $1.01 figures.

Coffee and sugar continue rally

With the rains still to come, farmers in Brazil are beginning to get desperate as Coffee Arabica and sugar prices continue to squeeze higher due to supply-side fears. 

Gold’s momentum has come to a standstill following a particularly bullish move yesterday, as the price moves further into overbought territory.

GBP/USD best performer

The Chinese yaun has collapsed as traders speculate that the Chinese central government’s management of the currency could be loosened. 

Gold has struggled to break out of a tight range, as it suffers from a lack of direction following recent economic data releases. 

GBP/USD has been the most active of the major currency pairs, displaying a 55-pip gain by mid-afternoon. 

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