Traders await today's set of speeches

Europe holds its breath as this weekend will see the crucial pan-European voting figures tallied. No, not on Greek debt repayments but the Eurovision song contest, a template for how we can all come together as one big happy family. 

Source: Bloomberg

Today will be a day for the talking heads with speeches from European Central Bank president Mario Draghi, Bank of England governor Mark Carney, and Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen all more than able to give the markets a serious nudge higher or lower. Economic opinion being disseminated not in data but speeches always leaves room for interpretation, and as such today's speeches will offer traders ample opportunity to jump to conclusions.

All the while that this is going on, the time remaining for Greece to meet the austerity requirements that will trigger the release of the next tranche of funding is ticking away towards next week’s deadline. Although the noises coming out of Greece are broadly confident that something can be done, these are not views being shared by German chancellor Angela Merkel. The myriad of political complexities that dominate Europe will once again be on show this weekend with the 60th anniversary of the Eurovision song contest, and with a referendum looming this will offer an excellent example of how fondly the UK is viewed by its cross-channel neighbours. 

A quick glance at the top tier of UK quoted banks shows that they are once again heading higher after the merest of blips caused by the latest FX fixing fines. The repetitive nature of these punitive measures being brought against the banks has meant that the impact of these announcements has increasingly diminished.

Severn Trent has posted an increase in its full-year profit at levels sufficient to appease shareholders, while not too large as to offend the public.

Fresh speculation surrounding the attractions of Vodafone to Liberty Global has seen the shares again set off at a sprightly pace this morning as expectations that these rumours will turn into something a little more tangible  increase.

The data out of the US yesterday increased the suspicion that the pace of its recovery is cooling and coming more closely aligned with the rest of the world. It is hard to believe that tonight’s speech from Janet Yellen will do anything to reinvigorate the stalling momentum as a watch and see attitude has become increasingly clear from her and her colleagues. The early afternoon session will also see the release of the latest monthly US consumer price index figures giving a touch more flavour to the US inflation picture.

Ahead of the open we expect the Dow Jones to start broadly unchanged at 18,285.

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