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The FTSE has started the day slightly lower, with traders once again deciding to err on the side of caution as the weather-affected US non-farm payrolls being released this afternoon have the potential to affect the markets. Considering the macro issues that have surrounded Europe this week, the current performance of the FTSE is impressive: in early morning trading it is still sitting roughly where it opened at the beginning of the week.
It has been a particularly rough week for Evraz, the European mining company, as it has ongoing operations in both Ukraine and Russia that have given the markets cause for concern. The latest events in the Crimea have seen the share fall by 2.2% in early trading, leading the list of the FTSE fallers. Miner Rio Tinto is looking increasingly likely to buy the balance of 49.2% of the shares in Canadian company Turquoise Hill Resources. Essar Energy already has a majority holding by Indian billionaire brothers the Ruias, and there are rumours that we could see them buy up the balance. With stability in Libya still a fragile commodity, BP has decided to sideline its plans for expansion of the Ghadames Basin, for the time being at least.
Once again, the first Friday of the month will see the US non-farm payrolls, trade balance figures and the latest unemployment rate being issued. These three key economic indicators, all released at the same time, are prone to giving the markets a healthy shake as traders head into the weekend.
Ahead of the open, we expect the Dow Jones to start nine points higher at 16,430.