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Ahead of what looks like the most vital Fed meeting in years, the best thing for markets to do would be simply to sit still and wait for Thursday afternoon. With that being impossible, they have opted for the second choice, namely running around in circles. A near 150-point range on the FTSE 100 today looks relatively busy, but in fact the index remains stuck within the range that has dominated all September.
This is not an environment for long-term decision making, indeed so much is riding on Thursday’s events the market has become even more short-sighted than normal. Nonetheless, the longer the FTSE 100 remains stuck below 6200, the more it seems that the next big move is down. Despite the recovery off the lows of August, the index remains stuck in a downtrend, with so far little sign of a sustained comeback.
Kingfisher has failed to get away without a fall in its share price, but the news the company is shifting its focus to professionals via its ScrewFix brand, rather than continuing to pursue sales in the lagging DIY market, should be taken as a long-term positive. Miners have found some buyers as the afternoon has worn on, with Glencore in particular holding above 120p once more.
US markets have bounced after a poor showing yesterday. Retail sales for August were weaker than expected, but not by enough to suggest that the consumer picture in the US is worsening. Major energy names, such as Chevron, are popular this afternoon, with the value crowd still keen to build positions in these firms despite Goldman’s call for oil to hit $20.