FTSE continues to edge higher

In mid-morning trading the FTSE 100 is up over 30 points, as the UK mining sector’s optimism has outweighed the insurance sector’s negativity.

The FTSE continues to edge its way higher, along with its European counterparts, even with the slight selloff in US markets last night.

Once again speculation that Chinese government assistance will be given to help the Asian markets has aided sentiment. Now along with China, the increasingly weak data coming out of Germany is pointing towards the European Central Bank stepping in to help the EU’s most important member; another classic example of bad news being perceived as good.

In another blow to George Osborne’s hopes that the UK’s exports can improve, today's current account figures have confirmed that we are still importing considerably more than we export.

Once again the Insurance sector is weighing the FTSE down with all five of the biggest fallers – Resolution, Aviva, Legal & General, Standard Life and Prudential – coming from that sector. The knock-on effects from George Osborne’s annuity shake-up in last week’s Budget are still being felt, with some estimations of over 70% of the annuity market disappearing. 

Even with several commodity spot prices struggling, the mining sector is doing its best to drag the FTSE higher. It has been boosted by the increased speculation of Chinese government assistance.

It looks like the buoyant stance of Europe will help US markets open a little sprightlier today, as all the indicators for the equity markets are pointing higher. Traders will be conscious that we are now just over a week away from the latest US reporting season, with Alcoa due to once again start the ball rolling on 8 April. Next week could see traders organising their exposure as they try to gauge how well corporate USA will be able to meet expectations, especially after dealing with poor weather for the first couple of months this year.

Ahead of the open, we expect the Dow Jones to start 40 points higher at 16,304.

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