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The FTSE 100 is hovering just above the 6600 level with investors unsure which way to look. The reporting season is winding down and there is little in the way of economic data to woo dealers off the fence. The financial sector is offside as profit-taking on Lloyds Banking Group and the hangover from HSBC yesterday outweighs the jump in operating income from Standard Chartered.
Legal & General are in demand after the insurance house posted an increase in pre-tax profit, while the boost in dividend also caught traders' attention – a healthy dividend yield is never a bad thing. InterContinental Hotels Group revealed a 20% year-on-year increase in six-monthly operating profit, after a strong performance in the Middle East and Africa offset a drop-off in Chinese operations. Fresnillo is dragging the mining sector lower after the Mexican silver miner announced a slump in profit.
Across the pond, we are expecting the Dow to open broadly unchanged from last night's close. Traders are concerned about QE tapering comments from the Dallas Federal Reserve president Richard Fisher, with the recent good news from the jobs market translating as bad news for stocks.