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Markets' momentum stalls

The prospect of a long weekend has seen equity traders, and subsequently markets, lazily drift towards the close today with limited momentum. 

London
Source: Bloomberg

Greek issues rear their head again

With a long weekend ahead of them, traders look to have only half-heartedly set about the day’s activities. After what has been a bullish first quarter for equity markets it is perhaps no real surprise that investors have reduced their exposure.

The ubiquitous mention of Greece and its travails surrounding austerity has hung around the markets again today. The slow lingering demise of Greece’s status in the eurozone has seen a greater willingness of members to countenance their departure. The less-than-subtle way in which the inexperienced government has gone about negotiations over the last couple of months has seen it lose friends, and the debate over whether it will remain within the eurozone is far from conclusive.  

Traders aren't sure which of the arrival of suede skirts or 'fifteen is a charm' has finally paid off for Marks & Spencer, but it has seen sales in its clothing department increase having been subjected to almost four years of falling figures. Marc Bolland’s initial hopes of a three-year turnaround schedule have come and gone and he must have been questioning how far investor patience could be stretched.

The saga surrounding the blue half of Glasgow continues to throw up more twists and turns as the new Dave King-led management of the football club has failed to find a nomad to take over from WH Ireland following its resignation last month, and have subsequently triggered its relegation from the AIM market. 

NFP predictions continue

Regardless of the fact that equity markets will be closed tomorrow the release of the US non-farm payrolls will go ahead. The absence of this volatility catalyst in openly traded equity markets has thrown traders. The ability to at leisure digest and reflect upon its merits before pressing on the 'buy' or 'sell' buttons is not a luxury often afforded to those in the city.

As a precursor to tomorrow's data we have seen better-than-expected unemployment claims. Like yesterday’s ADP figures it is debatable as to how much of an indicator these really are but that will not stop the markets from making judgment calls.  

Gold breaches 50-DMA

Gold has battled its way back above the $1200 level, the last few trading days appear to have confirmed the precious metal has got its second wind from its year-lows in mid-March. Gold has cleared the first hurdle of the 50-day moving average and will have its sights set on both the 100- and 200-, both under the $1220 level.

Talks surrounding Iran’s nuclear development continue and are encouraging, although a settlement is far from certain. The progress that has been achieved around the negotiation table has shown clearly how much more successful it is when sanctioning alone.Oil traders have increasingly factored in a return of Iranian oil to the global markets and as the country would be OPEC’s third-largest producer a fall by as much as 10% is being considered a very real possibility.   

GBP/USD sits at $1.48

EUR/USD has bounced with enthusiasm today but with the issues of Greece, devaluation through QE and US interest rate rises all hanging around this continues to look like a more attractive opportunity to sell into than anything else.

GBP/USD on the other hand has continued to sit at $1.48 anchored to the bottom of its recent range. The support previously offered at $1.50 looks to ensure that a bounce back above here will be a tough ask. 

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