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RBS shares solid
As the day ended it looks like the rally that began yesterday is already coming under threat. Greek news created the bounce on Wednesday, and Greek news threatens to bring it to a close this afternoon. Reports indicated that the IMF's team in Brussels has departed after failing to make any progress on a debt deal. It's quite a surprise to think that it took so long for hopes of progress to be quashed. Despite this, most markets are still up on the day, indicating that there is still hope that Angela Merkel will be able to bang some heads together, given her comments yesterday about finding a way out of the crisis.
The news was taken as a cue to trim some profits from yesterday's rally, but the surge yesterday provided a platform to build on gains, with the week still likely to end on a positive note tomorrow.
RBS shares remained solid this afternoon despite the news that the chancellor was moving towards a sale of the government stake. Arguably the news should be a positive anyway, not least since the bank can finally begin to look forward to future when its management team does not have Whitehall peering over their shoulders at every decision.
Higher jobless claims show limited impact
A spring bounce in US retail sales did not undermine the market rally this afternoon, even though better US figures have been the cause of declines for equities given the implication that a US rate hike is getting closer. Jobless claims were slightly higher than expected, but not in a way that significantly disrupts the narrative that the US economy has recovered in the second quarter.
It looks like we are seeing a summer bounce in stocks, as buyers return thanks to more attractive valuations and a general calming of concerns that a US rate hike will somehow mark a watershed moment for global markets.
Gold caught between stocks and dollar
Precious metals have seen their three-day rally stall this afternoon, while oil is looking more bearish once again as they push up towards the top end of their recent trading ranges.
Gold looked like it was about to power onwards, but yesterday's failure to break $1190 was more than just a temporary pause. Gold continues to be caught between the US dollar and stocks. It can only thrive when both of these look less attractive, and at present stocks have come back into favour while the US dollar wanes.
EUR/USD rally after Carney's speech
The absence of any dovish commentary in Mark Carney's speech to the Mansion House last night allowed GBP/USD to rally during the course of the day, although it was unable to move through yesterday's highs. There was a growing sense this week that the pound's retracement versus the dollar had been overdone, and that the policy outlook still warranted a bullish posture.
We have seen buyers return this week, a state of affairs that is likely to continue given the healthier reading on the UK economy and the lack of fresh EU referendum headlines.