Geopolitical risk has come back into focus, prompting markets to shed many of the gains made earlier in the week. The banks led the market lower following reports of a fresh investigation into the current account market, leading to investor fears that high street bank chains will be slowly be broken up.
Recent events have inevitably had their impact on global markets, with uncertainty about the next step taken by Western governments being the key element here this morning.
Google was a boon for both the optimists and the pessimists, after revenue surged but an advertising push hit profits, but it looks like investors are prepared to give the search giant the benefit of the doubt, provided the research and development spend starts to bear fruit.
A forecast modest uptick in the Michigan confidence index might steady global markets, but the impact of major global events will continue to dominate the tone of the afternoon session.
Ahead of the open, we expect the Dow Jones to start 22 points higher at 16,999.