US lead race to raise interest rates

The FTSE 100 has managed to shrug off any negative sentiment from this morning’s eurozone economic releases, and is up 17 points in the first couple of hours trading.

Federal Reserve
Source: Bloomberg

Today will be a particularly heavy day of economic data with manufacturing and service PMI figures out in China, France, Germany, the eurozone and the US. Sticking to the now familiar format of undershooting expectations, France has missed forecasts while, much to the relief of eurozone enthusiasts, German figures have beaten expectations.

Last night’s minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee have shown that the US has stolen a march on the UK in the race to raise interest rates, as earnings are improving at a healthier pace. Subsequently, GBP/USD has been dragged below the $1.66 level and EUR/USD is looking even more oversold below $1.33. The oft utilised excuse of 'currency headwinds' from many European companies in the latest reporting season looks to be wearing a little thin now.

Copper manufacturer Kazakhmys has posted figures reflecting the weaker copper price, while improving its cost base. The bigger issues of asset stripping and streamlining the company continue to hang over it.

Premier Oil has posted solid figures this morning, seeing production up 11% and pre-tax profits up 7%. A glance at the biggest movers in the FTSE, however, does emphasise the mining sector's exposure to the US dollar-denominated commodities with all five of the biggest fallers coming from this sector. Wall Street continued to flirt outrageously with the 17,000 level, no doubt emboldened by the bullish earnings comments made from last night’s FOMC minutes that will help pave the way for interest rate rises in the US. 

Hewlett Packard, the last of the big bellwether US corporates to report, saw its after-hours performance disappoint much like its figures had. Having beaten market expectations in eleven of the last twelve seasons, it looks like it has made a rod for its own back. Markets will be wary of any flyaway comments coming out of Jackson Hole today, but with both Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen, and European Central Bank president Mario Draghi talking tomorrow, that could be when the fireworks start.

Ahead of the open we expect the Dow Jones to start 29 points higher at 17,008.

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