Markets hobbled by low volatility

Yesterday’s low volume, narrow range seems destined to be repeated. 

London city
Source: Bloomberg

The FTSE 100 is down 30 points despite yet another positive finish in the US, and with economic and corporate data fairly thin on the ground, traders have been forced to rummage around down the back of the proverbial sofa in a bid to enliven markets that have evidently entered a pre-World Cup summer lull. So far, they haven’t come up with very much, but at least Europe is trading marginally higher after the holiday yesterday, so there is some bullishness still left. The horizon seems clear of both positive and negative signs, but there is a sense that things are becoming a little too quiet. 

News of the first current accounts for Tesco Bank have done little to hold the share price up this morning. Having seen fresh ventures for the UK titan in China and the US turn rapidly sour, investors can be forgiven for being more than a little sceptical. At this point, they would rather see herculean efforts to bring UK customers back into the core supermarket business rather than dispersing activity in other areas.

Compared to their performance over the past week US futures look positively weak, but there is no sign yet that traders are displeased with the progression of new record highs. There is still room for some edging back as profits are booked, but even then this should only see us drop back towards the Friday pre-NFP levels. Low volatility is flashing amber for traders, while the lack of a major correction will mean that nervousness will be rising over the summer, even if volume isn’t. Ahead of the open, we expect the Dow Jones to start 20 points lower at 16,923.

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