Markets advancing on possible ECB intervention

The FTSE continues to lag behind its US and European counterparts, but still looks set to post yet another positive day.

ECB flag
Source: Bloomberg

BHP's figures disappoint

IT issues delayed the release of BHP Billiton’s figures this morning, compounding the markets disappointment with the company missing its estimates. Plans to strip off part of the company in a $16 billion nickel and aluminium play, with only an Australian and South African quote, added to London’s disdain for the plans.

Persimmon, the UK housebuilder, looks to have gone out of its way to ensure that shareholders are happy, posting profits up by 57% and revenues up by a third, with an outlook that could only be described as rosy.

Energy sector engineering firm Wood Group has benefited from the increasing interest in US shale production, as alternative energy supply sources around the world continue to look shaky. Even with the now ubiquitous 'currency headwinds' issue that almost all companies claim, the firm has seen its pre-tax profits jump by 15%.

Dow eyes 17,000

The Dow Jones appears unable to resist the attractions of the 17,000 level as it continues to head higher. The US is no longer encumbered by European markets that have now joined in with this rally, although they are driven by the hope of ECB fiscal assistance rather than outright optimism.

With US inflation figures falling in line with market expectations and global macro events remaining relatively calm, equities look destined to advance ahead of the latest Jackson Hole meeting at the end of the week. The only note of caution is that with both Janet Yellen and Mario Draghi due to round the week off with speeches in Wyoming, all this hard work could be easily undone.

Time for a little reflection by the markets as Google celebrates floating on Nasdaq ten years ago today. At the end of the first day its shares had closed up by 18% valuing the company at $26 billion, and today it is valued at almost $400 billion.

New York cocoa hit by weather conditions

New York cocoa took a long overdue correction after the relentless moves higher over the last month finally paused for breath, with both crop reports and weather conditions conspiring against any further falls this may be just a momentary lull in momentum. In contrast, the slide in the sugar price shows little sign of cooling even as the commodity moves further into oversold territory. 

CPI data sends cable tumbling

Currency traders were still trying to get their heads around what Bank of England governor Mark Carney was thinking, following his comments in the weekend press. The release of the latest UK inflation figures has now somewhat superseded the comments, as the CPI rate's fall to 1.6% has sent GBP/USD tumbling. Tomorrow's MPC voting will still be important, but today’s news looks to have nudged the start of UK interest rate rises into 2015. US inflation figures were a much duller affair as they avoided any unexpected changes, ensuring the US dollar continued to dominate against both the euro and the pound.   

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