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Equity markets have jumped as the prospect of a Greek default has dwindled for the time being, as the country's finance minister has laid out a number of options for debt restructuring. Greece’s problems are far from over but as far as the markets are concerned calm as been restored; a disorderly exit is not on the cards for the moment.
Shares in BP have bounced higher after the oil titan posted a dip in profits that smashed estimates. The London-listed oil company announced a fourth-quarter dividend of 10 cents to keep shareholders on-side. The real surprise was the 13% cut in capital expenditure, which is relatively small when you consider that a final resolution regarding the Gulf of Mexico disaster is still outstanding and Rosneft is being squeezed by sanctions.
BG Group started trading with a bang this morning, but early gains were erased after an enormous write-down and the slashing of capital expenditure signalled a difficult year ahead for the company. The oil and gas sector has been hit hard by weak commodity prices, but BG’s figures were the worst of a bad bunch.
It may have taken 15 years to deliver, but Ocado posted its first full-year profit this morning. The company seems to be maturing out of its erratic teenage phase which was dominated by growth spurts and profit warnings. Now that the online grocer has eked out a small annual profit, and the company is building a new distribution centre, traders are expecting slow and steady progress from the firm going forwards.
We are expecting the Dow Jones to open 15 points higher, at 17,375, as the US equities continue their rally after a jolt higher towards the close last night. The strength of the US stock market is impressive and can only be eclipsed by that of eurozone equities.