RBS lags but FTSE set to finish higher

Heading into the last hour of trade the FTSE 100 is up again, by around 25 points.

RBS falls 5%

It has been yet another positive day for the FTSE 100, which is not too surprising given the strong finish by the S&P 500 in the US on Friday, after it closed at another all-time high. RBS was one of the larger blue-chip movers, down 5% on the day as the UK government considers its options – including splitting a part of it off into a 'bad bank'. It feels like a few years since this phrase has been used so today’s weakness could well just be a short-term, knee-jerk reaction until plans are clearer for the bank’s future.

There was some caution among traders ahead of Tuesday’s US unemployment numbers. This has been delayed due to the recent government shutdown and is typically one of the more eagerly-awaited economic releases. Sentiment being what is at the moment, any stock market weakness following the release is likely to be seen as a buying opportunity. A good jobs number means the economy is fine; a bad number means the US Federal Reserve is likely to further delay withdrawing support. The net result is that so far shares have seldom stayed down for long as a result of the US unemployment levels.

S&P 500 flirts with new high

US equities made a positive start on Monday with the broader S&P 500 index briefly flirting with fresh all-time highs once again. It would not be surprising to see a somewhat low volatility session ahead of Tuesday’s unemployment release – but any significant weakness is likely to find plenty of support among those who feel they missed the boat after last week’s strong rally.

Interest in the Twitter IPO is also creeping higher. IG has been running a grey market on this for several weeks, based on the social media company’s market cap on the first day of trade. The market started at $11 billion but client activity has so far pushed this close to an estimated $30 billion valuation.

US crude slides to three-month low

It's been a fairly uneventful day’s trading for major commodities, though the price of Olja - US Crude has drifted to another three-month low. The $100 a barrel mark had been considered something of an important level for oil, so if it is going to bounce from anywhere this looks like as good a place as any. Again it will be the US jobs number that has the biggest bearing on the price of crude in the short-term, but at current levels it is starting to look ripe for recovery.

Signs of bullishness for US dollar

It's also been a relatively quiet day in fx, but the pound and the euro are at interesting levels versus the US dollar. With both currencies very close to their highs for the year against the greenback, some traders are starting to wonder if the dollar weakness has not been overdone. Without any positive surprises for the UK or eurozone economies, it is something of a struggle to see any major weakness still left for the US dollar and there are some signs of bullishness finally creeping in for the US currency.

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