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Market sentiment difficult to gauge

We have meandered higher in London by 15 points, the FTSE stands at 6672 in early trading, with sentiment difficult to gauge, much like the London skyline through the morning’s smog. 

Macro event positioning, which is a clever way of saying doing nothing ahead of the European Central Bank meeting and non-farms, is the order of the day. Continued expansion in the UK services sector, shown by this morning’s services purchasing managers index data, still keeps us ahead of our European peers at a time when the comparisons are being made on the political front lines. The fact that the number missed expectations (57.6 versus 58.1) has, however, created a little downside pressure on cable, with the move down to $1.6610 attracting buyers as it has done since the start of the month. 

Scribes at UBS have boosted Tullow Oil (4%) to the top of the index this morning by upgrading them to buy, and the market likes B&Q owner Kingfisher's (+2%) spot of cross-channel shopping as they pick up a controlling stake in French DIY chain Mr Bricolage

Some focus has been on another IPO in London, with takeaway experts Just Eat making its first foray into public trading this morning. At last count before the stock began trading, IG’s grey market was indicating a price of around 262-263p for the shares. The stock had an IPO price of 260p, and early trades were going above 280, before settling down around the 270 level. So far so good, and hopefully another successful IPO in London, although critics will point to its sky-high valuation as evidence that it fits into the theory of the second coming of the tech bubble. 

With just an eighty point range in yesterday’s trade, the Dow Jones is well into its pre non-farm period of apathy. Positive revisions to February’s ADP and only a small miss for March will have kept up hopes for a resumption of the 200k+ figures we were seeing before Christmas. Mid-morning, we are seeing the Dow opening around 10 points higher at 16,580.

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