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European markets have batted off any initial fears driven by an early selloff today, with the FTSE 100 driving higher towards the all important high of 7127. The ongoing wrestling match between the Greek government and its European creditors took an unexpected and welcome turn as Syriza seemingly tagged out their chief negotiator Yanis Varoufakis following increasingly heightened tensions between him and the eurozone representitives.
Bond yields fell, equities rose and for a moment everything seemed fine. The new negotiating team will look different, but should they employ any particularly different tactic, they would be ignoring the very reason they are currently in office, namely their anti-austerity platform. For this reason, I expect any temporary jubilance in the markets to be just that.
HSBC led the charge on the FTSE100 today, rising 3.56% following the rumour that they were attempting to tie up a sale for the retail banking division of the UK arm. This comes after chairman Douglas Flint disclosed on Friday that the firm could relocate headquarters away from the UK in response to regulatory and structural reforms. Central to this would be the issue of continued EU membership, which would be increasingly likely under a Labour government. However, Ed Miliband's pledge to cap rent rises to the rate of inflation have hit the housebuilders, sending the likes of Barratt Developments and Persimmon lower in today's trading.
US markets are picking up where they left off, with the NASDAQ setting yet another all-time high from the open. This week represents one of the busiest days in the earnings calendar, with around 30% of S&P500 constituents reporting either before of after the bell. As such, the impact that individual stocks will have upon the index will be heightened, as opposed to overall sentiment or macro-economic trading. However, in a week that sees US GDP and the latest FOMC meeting dominate proceedings, it is clear that fundamental factors will increasingly dominate once more.
Apple headlines today's earnings, with markets expecting a blockbuster of a release. A 1.91% rise so far today points to the buouyant mood amongst investors as speculation centres around the growing influence of the Chinese consumer upon Apple's bottom line. The potential for Chinese sales to outstrip those in the US would be a major statement of intent going forward and hints that the Apple bug has been well and truly caught despite an abundance of Asian phone manufacturers and a proportionately bigger demand for imitations than in Western countries.
The world's third biggest fast food company, Restaurant International has been boosted by a jump in Burger King sales, contrasting the fortunes of Mcdonalds who has struggled to maintain sales, prompting a revamp to their offering. Burger King sales managed to beat earnings estimates by outperforming in new North American chains.
Brent crude has settled somewhat today, following a strong week which saw the gains of the previous month extented Whilst for many, prices around the $47 mark represented a strong buying opportunity, it is likely that this recent strength will only last for so long and with oil likely to remain in high supply, it is likely that we will see consolidation reign once more in the near future. Gold has confounded the dollar bulls by punching higher today after it hit support at $1180.
Meanwhile, the dollar has the potential to come back into form, with both EUR/USD and GBP/USD moving lower from their respective long term moving averages. The warning signs are certainly there that we could see further upside from the pairs, yet for now the bears have an opportunity to grab hold of market sentiment once more.