FTSE lifted by record setting Wall Street

In mid-morning trading, the FTSE 100 is 22 points higher, emboldened by the US markets once again setting new highs.

This morning’s British Retail Consortium’s retail sales figures, the strongest since May 2011, have been warmly welcomed and helped ease the FTSE into positive territory in early trading.

Even with Easter falling outside its first half easyJet has posted better-than-expected figures, boosted by Europe’s particularly mild winter which has helped reduce running costs and limit disruptions. A similar situation has benefited TUI Travel, as they too have seen lower costs in the first half of the year and are seeing summer bookings up by 7-10%.

Pfizer's Scottish boss Ian Read will need to have his whit’s about him when he sits in front of the business select committee today. His ability to assure UK jobs will not be adversely affected by any takeover of AstraZeneca, will go a long way to appeasing any fears politicians have over this possible takeover. 

Another day, another record for Wall Street. Once again the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 set higher benchmarks after previously failing on a number of occasions, with the Dow clearing the 16,600 level with some ease. Any fears that weather disruptions would derail the US markets are quickly being consigned to the bin.

Before the US open traders will have the opportunity to see how reflective monthly retail sales are of the bullish indices, as the disparity between earnings growth and market valuations continues to grow.

Ahead of the open, we expect the Dow to start eight points higher, at 16,724.

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