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Insurance sector still offside
In London, the insurance sector is still offside but most of the companies have managed to pull back some of their losses. It has been one disaster after another this year for insurance stocks, between the flooding, changes to pensions and now an investigation into millions of insurance policies stretching back as far as the 1970s; the sector has gone from bad to worse.
British banks are treading water as traders are in wait-and-see mode until the situation in Crimea plays out. Natural resource stocks are still pushing higher as traders are anticipating a liquidity injection by the People's Bank of China.
US data meets expectations
The Dow Jones is up 116 points at 16,381 after personal income and spending met market expectations. US stocks are less exposed to the tensions in Ukraine but the situation is far from resolved. There has been no further development since President Obama warned Vladimir Putin that additional sanctions could be imposed on Russia. As far as the markets are concerned, no news is good news. If we were to see sanctions slapped on by either side the could stock drop to its mid-March lows.
Gold's struggle continues
Copper is in positive territory as metal traders are speculating if China will reveal a liquidity injection sooner rather than later. Gold is still struggling to break past the $1300 mark. From a technical point of view it is approaching oversold territory.
Sterling receives a boost
Sterling was boosted by the UK GDP report that confirmed the British economy grew by 0.7% in the final quarter of last year. However, the larger-than-expected budget deficit could catch up with the pound.