FTSE traders find confidence difficult to come by

The desperation to hear of further ECB stimulus is tangible as traders’ worries dominate their mindsets.

Barclays trader looking at data screens
Source: Bloomberg

For the second day this week equity markets have started the trading day on the back foot as fears over Thursday’s European Central Bank (ECB) statement continue to dominate European traders’ minds. The mining sector continues to drag the FTSE lower as soft metals have spent the last 24 hours selling off while precious metals have only edged a touch higher.

The volatility of mining companies has been one of the stand out factors so far this year with companies like Anglo American, BHP Billiton, Antofagasta and Glencore either finding themselves as one of the top climbers or fallers giving shareholders a never ending roller-coaster ride.

Foxtons has posted full-year figures slightly lower than expected but, more worryingly, has stated its fears over the changes in buy to let stamp duty and the negative consequences of the Brexit referendum.

This morning has seen the Bank of England (BoE) governor Mark Carney tread a delicate line between discussing the precautions the BoE is taking ahead of the Brexit referendum while trying to remain neutral. The October 2015 report the central bank produced on the other hand does tilt slightly more obviously towards the benefits of staying in the EU. Wither these comments have been the catalyst or are a coincidence is difficult to judge but the last week’s worth of strength that we have seen from sterling against the dollar has stalled in the morning session.

Having enjoyed a bullish ride yesterday oil traders have eased back in overnight trading however keeping Brent crude prices above $40 a barrel.

The gold price continues to enjoy the fear and uncertainty that hangs over the market as it floats around $1275 triggering technical traders to target $1307 as the next bench mark on the precious metals road to recovery.   

FTSE risers and fallers (as of 9.30am)

Company % change Index points
Tesco +1.96 +1.18
Burberry Group +4.81 +1.14
GlaxoSmithKline +0.11 +0.28
Shire +0.16 +0.13
Inmarsat +0.65 +0.11


Company % change Index points
Rio Tinto -4.85 -5.20
Lloyds Banking Group -2.71 -4.92
BHP Billiton -4.87 -3.59
Glencore -4.3 -3.34
British American Tobacco -1.04 -3.02

The day ahead

Economic data:

ECOFIN meeting of finance ministers in Brussels.

11.30pm – Australia Westpac confidence index (March): it is tipped to fall from 101.3 to 100.8.

Corporate reporting:

US: Merck & Co Inc

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