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Equity benchmarks including the FTSE 100 ended the week on a positive note on the ‘bad news is good news’ maxim. The US Labor Department had a surprise in store when it revealed that unemployment increased by 0.1% to 7.6% in May. Dealers were initially thrown off course by the higher-than-anticipated non-farm payrolls number, but quickly digested the unemployment number.
The US Federal Reserve has played a major part in the upward and downward movements of global markets in the past quarter, making it very clear that they will keep monetary policy loose until the US economy recovers, with an unemployment target rate of 6%. Investors bought equities after the announcements, not because of confidence in the US economy but because they believe the Fed will maintain its bond-buying scheme.
In London, the mining sector is performing well as traders pick up relatively cheap stocks, particularly natural resources shares which have been in decline with lower metal prices weighing on investor sentiment. China announces trade balance and inflation figures over the weekend; if the reports are positive we could see mining companies in demand at the start of next week as well.
In the US, the Dow is up 200 points at 15,240, with US equities continuing to outperform their European counterparts.