The FTSE looks set to finish higher

Heading into the close the FTSE 100 is up 15 points, a move that is more impressive when you consider the lethargy of investors at large today.

The City's traders have become increasingly accustomed to delayed trains, slow running undergrounds and increasingly miserable weather, and judging by the market’s reaction this morning we can also add US political indecision to the list.

Johnson Matthey soars

The FTSE 100 has tried its best to shrug off the equity markets' malaise and leading from the front has been Johnson Matthey, benefiting from an upgrade to overweight from JP Morgan. The FTSE chemical manufacturer has comfortably spent the day as the biggest climber and going into the close was just off its highs, up 5.4% on the day.

Telecommunication stocks have added their weight to this move with BT enjoying a boost to the share price following the announcement that they had agreed a deal to offer Sky movies on its TV service. Vodafone too had its own good news as it has finalised the acquisition of Kabel Deutschland, taking a big step down the road to an even greater strategic coverage of the European cable market.

US debt-ceiling impasse drags on

As the US celebrates Columbus Day with a bank holiday, many will be hoping that the long weekend will give politicians extra time to reflect in order that they can focus on making decisions for the greater good of the nation. A sad reflection on the state of the US political scene is that European markets have not panicked with the debt-ceiling deadline looming. This is down to the widespread belief such a scenario was always going to be the case, and that it would be left until the last moment for a wholly unconvincing agreement to stall the panic until another day. The longer this drags on, the more tarnished the Obama legacy will become and the more disillusioned US voters will feel. We can only hope that there is a resolution sooner rather than later.

Copper demand climbs higher

With Chinese copper demand now at an 18-month high the copper price has been dragged higher, but longer-term resistance at the $3.40 level, coupled with a perceived increase in supply by the start of 2014, should put a lid on any over-enthusiasm.

Gold continues to look very sorry for itself, as even with economic global uncertainty creating the perfect breeding ground for a flight to security, the yellow metal has failed to capitalise. Its inability to break out of its downward spiral has left many scratching their heads in wonder.

Yen's charge versus US dollar stagnates

Currency markets have behaved very much like their equity counterparts, with an absence of data to digest and a large amount of uncertainty hanging over the global reserve currency of choice. The charge higher that the Japanese yen had been enjoying against the US dollar looks to have stagnated following several days of strength against the major currencies. After drifting down to the lower end of the range, GBP/ZAR looks to have again found support as the longer-term bullish trend remains intact.

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