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Lloyds announces dividend
European equity markets barely reacted to the news that Germany agreed to Greece’s reforms, and in reality Greece was never going to get its application for an extension knocked back. The song and dance that played out over the last month about Greece’s finances was a political stage show, and we will go through it all over again in a few months when the extension runs out.
Lloyds announced a dividend of 75p, which may not be much but at least the bailed-out bank has proven that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Westminster has been gradually winding down its stake in the UK’s biggest lender, and we will get a better picture about the company’s future after the general election in May.
PMI data overshadows GDP report
The Dow Jones is in negative territory after the disappointing Chicago PMI and University of Michigan consumer confidence numbers took the spark out of the strong US GDP report.
Federal Reserve member William Dudley expressed his concern that raising rates too soon will do more harm than good, and Mr Dudley’s remarks contradict James Bullard’s comments from yesterday who is edging towards more hawkish commentary.
Equity traders will have to rely on good old fashioned economic announcements now that reporting season is relatively quiet and the political circumstances in Greece and Ukraine are stable for now.
Copper's correction ends
Copper’s correction throughout the month of February has come to an end as profit taking has set in. The red metal witnessed a small price swing this month as the Chinese New Year ensured that little interest was paid to the commodity.
Going into the weekend the market is focusing on the official Chinese manufacturing report from Beijing, and the market is expecting the sector to remain in contraction territory. Traders are not adjusting to the fact that the biggest importer of copper is encountering more normal growth rates.
Gold is hovering above the psychological $1200 mark, and now that the Greek situation has been laid to rest for a number of months it is unlikely to stray too far north of this mark.
US GDP data weighs on euro
What little life that was breathed into the euro on the back of Germany backing Greece’s reforms was quickly eroded after the US registered stronger-than-expected growth figures, and now the single currency is struggling to get back above the $1.12 mark.
Sterling has been trading sideways as it refuses to be bullied by the strength of the greenback.