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The old bugbears are back to stalk markets this morning. The ceasefire in Ukraine, barely a day old, is already looking shaky, while anxious eurozone markets turn their eyes to the latest meeting between finance ministers, who are recommencing the uphill struggle to hammer out an agreement between Greece and its partners. We can only hope that today's session is more productive than last week's, where even a single statement from all parties was too much to ask. The default setting for most investors today is 'sit on your hands', and await developments.
Shares in Hammerson bounced off opening lows, as the real estate firm reported a near doubling in pre-tax profit. Having been derided three years ago for its switch to retail parks instead of offices, the firm can feel vindicated, especially since the rise in its shares, up 80% over the past year, is not too far behind fellow sector peers British Land and Land Securities.
US markets are closed for Presidents Day, with the result that the afternoon session in Europe and the UK is likely to be a quiet one. US indices finished in fine form last week, ending the recent pattern of poor closes on Fridays, with the S&P 500 touching a new record high. The Dow Jones will not be too far behind, assuming that the situations in Greece and Ukraine do not worsen significantly.