FTSE still weak ahead of US open

The indication is that US markets are going to open just as weakly as their European counterparts.

On both sides of the Atlantic, equity markets have had two weeks’ worth of steady solid gains and are now taking something of a breather. With important economic data due out after the UK market close, there seems to be a little bit of profit-taking and also maybe a little bit of risk-reduction.

The latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes are due to be released and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke is anticipated to speak, so we should expect some volatility in the closing two hours of US trading. Every man and his dog will be trying to decide how these figures will affect the Fed’s timing for the reduction of the quantitative easing process.

The FTSE is once again being dragged lower by the poor performance of both the banking and mining sectors. On top of these two usual culprits the retail sector is also looking weak, although Halfords is continuing to reap the rewards of the successful GB cycling team at last year’s Olympics and the steadily improving sentiment to cyclists.

Burberry is also an exception to the general sector, having posted some impressive sales figures this morning. Being focused towards the premium end of the market and having successfully refocused a large portion of their business to Asia, the company continues to perform better than many of its counterparts.

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