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The latter part of today’s session suggests that the selling isn’t done yet. Markets in both the UK and US initially opened in positive territory, and indeed the FTSE 100 was putting up quite a fight in the morning once options expiry was out of the way. However, the fall back into the red is a sign that the negative feelings from Wednesday’s Fed meeting haven’t dispersed just yet. Today hasn’t seen the excitement of Thursday but it probably sends just as clear a sign that investors aren’t happy about the Fed’s Damascene conversion to the supposed benefits of tighter monetary policy.
Talk of a dead-cat bounce abounded in markets from the first part of the session, and it appears the pessimists were proved right. In the early part of the UK session miners and banks led the way resolutely higher but those who stuck their heads above the parapet suffered accordingly in the afternoon, with RBS down more than 6% today and further losses among precious metals miners despite some slight gains for gold and silver.
Bereft of economic data today, US stocks have been left to wallow in the slough of despond, unable to make much upward progress. US markets have so far escaped the worst of the selling, with the S&P 500 down around 6% from its May highs versus a loss of almost 11% for the FTSE 100. However if Wall Street looks to play catch-up then this could spark off another lurch lower for indices around the world.
Gold and silver have done their best to eke out gains today, but the lack of enthusiasm is a sight to behold. The lack of US dollar strength today is a key reason, but once this returns we could easily see them tip lower. Both have failed to regain key levels today, remaining below $1300 and $20 respectively. In the case of silver, we’re now looking towards the $17-18 area for any sign that this selling is about to resume.
Sterling leads the losers in currencies today, hit by news that government borrowing was revised up once again. It will be interesting to see how the chancellor spins this next week at the spending round, although it does certainly jar with his image as a hard-driving, slash and burn occupant of No. 11.