FTSE off today's lows

Today has very much been a day of two halves, with fear dominating the morning session until US optimism dragged the FTSE back out of the red.

Traders have spent much of the week waiting for today’s economic figures and, now that they’re out, a sense of anti-climax has shrouded the trading floor.

Hard morning for FTSE

The FTSE struggled this morning due to an increase in the country’s current account, coupled with a disappointing business investment where expectations were maybe set a little too high following the outperformance of the last three quarters.

Doing nothing to help was the continuing weakness of energy suppliers Centrica and SSE, both ruing Ed Milliband’s comments earlier in the week and ensuring his name is scrubbed from their Christmas card list.

Thomas Cook has been left looking like the poor cousin due to comparisons with TUI Travel's figures.

Day for both bulls and bears in US

US markets have spent the week waiting for today's tranche of US data, and, with unemployment claims better-than-expected and quarterly GDP figures softer, ammunition is there for both the bulls and the bears.

Markets have been playing a guessinCENTRICg game as to the US Federal Reserve’s strategy for some time, and today's data will do little to clarify the picture.

In an effort to claim some of the attention for the corporations, Facebook has broken through the $50 level. This now represents a 106% increase in the last three months.

Gold gives back gains

Yesterday’s charge higher in the US markets saw gold add $70, however more pessimistic outlooks for the precious metal in both Asian and European trading sessions have seen more than half of those gains given back today.

Wheat continues to be the commodity on a charge, and the recent support looks very much like a double bottom. Confirmation that Chinese demand is imminent could convince the markets that this is more than just a bounce.

GBP/USD hanging on

GBP/USD has drifted lower following the release of both US and UK GDP figures and is just about hanging onto its 1.60 handle. Having added 100 pips in the last couple of months, momentum looks a little shaky as markets debate whether or not to give a little back.

Once again the USD/JPY is charging towards the ¥100 level, but with a more meandering style it looks less than convincing that this is the time it will finally succeed.

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