US markets to open a touch softer

After the turmoil of the trading week, Friday’s pace has slowed enough for traders to catch their breath.

Following the choppiness of the first four trading days of the week, it looks like equity traders have decided to take a considerably calmer attitude to Friday. This more relaxed approach has of course been helped by the fact that the Japanese Nikkei closed up almost 2% overnight, setting a precedent for European markets.

Although the European indices have been broadly positive, their US counterparts are a little less optimistic. A raft of economic data due out at 1.30pm (London time), covering manufacturing sales figures and PPI figures, has focused attention on the current state of the US economy.

Once again the UK banking sector is painting a confusing picture. Strangely enough, the one company most responsible for this confusion, the Royal Bank of Scotland, is unchanged on the day, while Lloyds, the other UK quoted bank with direct government exposure, is up over 2%.

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