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FTSE buoyed by bullish markets

Half way through the afternoon session the FTSE 100 is up 20 points buoyed by bullish markets across Europe and the US.

Both Europe and the US have decided to look upon their drinks as being half full, as blue has bathed the equity indices on a day when the economic data has not necessarily warranted it. Having taken the first three cuts to the US debt-purchasing scheme and the announcement of potential future US interest rate rises in its stride equity markets have shown a real resilience to some strong headwinds. 

Lloyds shares knocked back

Yesterday's after-market close news that the UK’s holding in Lloyds had been reduced by 7.8% and raised £4.2 billion has seen the shares knocked by over 5% today, as the markets began debating how and when the remaining 24.9% would be disposed of.  

As details of RSA Insurance Group's rights issues have hit the market, the shares have remained at the top of the FTSE fallers list spending most of the day off by some 7%. In contrast, Standard Life’s acquisition of Ignis from Phoenix Holdings has been well received, as this addition to the company’s portfolio has helped push the shares up by over 5.15% and set a new high for the year. 

S&P 500 moves into positive territory

The S&P 500 has made up enough ground in the last couple of days to move into positive territory for the last quarter, and if it is able to hang onto this slender edge that will be the fifth such positive quarter in a row for the US index. Although the core durable goods figures were a little weaker than expected, it has not been enough to de-rail the bullish US markets. With market rumours over Chinese stimulus continuing to do the rounds, traders have erred on the side of optimism. 

Market observers are continuing to debate the comments from Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen last week, and it looks like the majority have decided that if the Fed believes the US economy can handle interest rates rising once again, then things must be improving. 

The Candy Crush Saga of King has started life on the NYSE today; how long this game lasts for could well be decided by what future products the game maker can bring out.

Sugar and coffee prices rise

Both sugar and coffee have seen prices soar once again as Brazilian weather conditions continue to dictate poor crops for their South American farmers. Regardless of what rain has fallen, the inability of the market to make up the lost ground will ensure higher prices will follow. 

The calm that currently surrounds Crimea has translated itself into stagnation in the gold price as commodity traders wait to see what turn of events transpire next. 

Déjà vu hits currency traders

Encouraging words from Finland’s European Central Bank member Erkki Liikanen, that the ECB was poised to take action over the EU’s low inflation rate, has been met by a lukewarm reception in the EUR/USD market as a sense of déjà vu has hit currency traders.  

The AUD/USD rate has continued to head higher, having broken through its 200-day moving average as it begins to move into overbought territory.

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