Supermarkets lead FTSE higher

In mid-morning trading the FTSE 100 is up ten points, with the supermarkets higher after encouraging comments regarding the sector.

When the supermarket sector is leading the market there is clearly something amiss, and when Morrisons is the biggest gainer in the index, investors should have cause for concern. The FTSE 100 has stabilised after yesterday’s losses, but after a near 300 point loss for the Dow Jones it feels like we are in for a quiet end to the week on all fronts.

A broadly positive update from Asda has lifted its listed peers, as Asda noted that a cut in prices had helped boost its sales. This leads the way for the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury's, but not all the supermarkets can prosper if a price war breaks out.

An update from TUI Travel’s German parent has not been well-received in London, and TUI’s shares are off 4%, with Thomas Cook down another 1% in sympathy. It looks to be a tough summer for travel firms, with a football World Cup suggesting that many Britons will look to stay at home within easy reach of their TV sets.

Yesterday’s Dow sell-off caused frazzled nerves and takes the shine off the ‘fresh all time highs’ narrative that predominated earlier this week. The lack of volume on up days and the avalanche of selling on down days should be a major warning sign for investors. The continued volatility will mean that those sitting on the sidelines waiting for an entry will stay out even longer, perhaps waiting for a retest of the April lows. Futures have tiptoed higher, but ahead of the open we still expect the Dow to open just two points higher at 16,448.

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