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ECB press conference yields little for traders

The Friday feel good factor is here with the FTSE 100 setting off at a sprightly pace, up 50 points in just over an hour.

Mario Draghi
Source: Bloomberg

Yesterday’s European Central Bank press conference saw president, Mario Draghi, confirm that there would be no pre-Christmas quantitative easing presents for European traders to enjoy.

Subsequent comments from several central bankers contradicted the impression the markets had been given, that January's meeting would also fail to see European quantitative easing. Understandably there is still an air of confusion, a now regular occurrence after an ECB press conference.  

The focus for equity traders this morning has revolved around the house builders, as Balfour Beatty has rejected the £1 billion offer from John Laing for its public-private partnership assets. The tone of the rejection does hint towards there being an amount that would be accepted, so this story may well rumble a little while longer. 

Berkeley Group has posted first-half figures reflecting an 80% jump in pre-tax profits. This only partially makes up for the fact that its shares are still down on the year and are lagging all its counterparties.

With further proof that Ryanair is now the caring airline - its announcement that it will start refunding airline passenger duty ahead of the Easter holidays rather than the government-announced 1st of May - parents up and down the country will be keeping their fingers crossed that this if just the first shot in an airlines price battle. 

The first Friday of the month again sees the focus on US non-farm payroll figures and despite Wednesday's disappointing unemployment claims, the consensus is still for an improvement from last month's results.

The Dow Jones is now sitting less than 100 points away from the 18,000 level and as long as today’s economic data is even just remotely positive we should see an attack on this being triggered. Ahead of the open we expect the Dow to start 28 points higher at 17,928.  

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