European markets open weaker

In mid-morning trading the FTSE 100 is down over 30 points, as an Asian sell-off has dampened equity markets' enthusiasm.

A combination of the Asian markets selling off and yesterday's failed attempts to tackle August highs have resulted in the FTSE 100, along with most of Europe, opening weaker. Having seen the best part of 400 points added to the UK benchmark index in the last two weeks, in an almost straight-line move higher, it is perhaps no surprise that traders appear to be pausing for thought. Yesterday’s 'bad news is good news' interpretation of the US non-farm payroll figures only carried the markets so far before they ran out of steam.

A few of years ago, many were asking questions about where Argos was going, but increasingly its figures are answering the doubters. The September announcement of a tie-up with eBay as a 'click and collect' destination confirms the feeling that the firm has seen retail consumer demographics turn in its favour. With first-half figures showing that mobile sales have increased by 124%, this is one retailer looking forward to the festive season with more than a little cheer. Sports Direct appears to be another retailer which has its house in order, with confirmation that it is well placed to reach its full-year targets.

The future indications for this afternoon’s US market opening are pointing towards a slightly less pessimistic assessment by US traders than their European counterparts. It's another heavy day of corporate reports ahead, including quarterlies from Boeing, Caterpillar, US Airways Group, [shares:T-US|AT&T, E*TRADE and Northrop Grumman. These updates should offer analysts more than enough data to chew through. Ahead of the open, we expect the Dow Jones to start 75 points lower at 15,392.

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