FTSE again rewards the optimists

Heading into the close, the FTSE 100 is still looking to rally, up almost 100 points as optimism about the US economy offsets QE tapering worries.

First it was the turn of the optimists to feel the pain, now the pessimists are beginning to doubt themselves. After three strong ‘up’ days for the FTSE 100, the bears can be forgiven for feeling downcast. With the index straying into triple-digit territory, everyone has been reminded that the volatility of June is not likely to go away as we move into the next month. It looks as if we might have one last hurrah ahead of month-end before reality sets in once again.

UK markets

It has felt like a sentiment-driven day today, being a relatively quiet day for corporate newsflow. There was a growing sense that the general atmosphere of bearishness had got a little ahead of itself, and traders looked back to positive data earlier in the week to decide that a short-term bounce would be the most prudent move. Having said that, the sharpness of the rally away from near-6000 could suggest that the current wave of buying has almost run its course. With the end of the month looming as well, a little window-dressing from fund managers is probably adding to the positive sentiment prevailing.

US markets

The Dow has once again retaken the 15,000 level, aided by a better reading on US jobless claims, which were down 9000 last week to 346,000. To make things even better, consumer spending was reported to have increased in May, although it is debatable whether the June figure will be as good, given the worries occasioned by the Fed’s shift in policy. Thankfully there was also an impressive surge in pending home sales for May, which reassured investors that US housing continues to improve. With the S&P 500 now building on gains above 1600, we would now be looking towards the 1650 level as the next major line of resistance.

Commodities

Crude oil has enjoyed a boost, thanks to the shift back to positive thinking on the US economy, as the housing data helped to counteract any lingering nerves about tapering. However, with stockpiles still strong it may be that we are still fated to be stuck in the tight trading range that has prevailed so far in 2013.

FX

There has been no let up for sterling today, despite the eradication of the double-dip recession. Instead, we learned that the UK had to suffer just one long recession post-2008. With consumer spending still depressed, however, the outlook for the UK economy and sales of Byron hamburgers is equally bleak. Mark Carney has his work cut out for him.

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