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The summer lull hangs over financial markets today, with markets seeing relatively little activity as economic and corporate catalysts dry up. European markets appear to be the most positive, floating higher on thin volumes, but on Wall Street there is little enthusiasm to recover the ground lost over the past couple of days.
The FTSE 100 remains reluctant to push beyond 6700 for yet another day, despite a better performance from the mining sector; banks are weaker, but RBS shares are only down 0.3%, as George Osborne’s careful telegraphing of the decision to begin selling down the government’s stake in the bank works as expected. Since the equivalent process began in Lloyds shares, the bank has seen its price rise, and there will be more than a few investors who will welcome the gradual drawing down of government interference in RBS as a chance to start afresh.
Shares in pharma-group Shire are one of the worst performers today as investors desert the stock on acquisition news; it looks like many are booking gains in expectation of a costly takeover battle that could see the total bill move beyond the $30 billion level discussed today.
Activity levels this week will be concentrated towards the final two days, and given the quiet session in the US so far it looks like most are opting to keep their powder dry ahead of non-farm payrolls on Friday. Ultimately it looks like we are condemned to watch more quiet trading play out for the time being,