Miners lift FTSE

The fate and direction of the FTSE 100 is very much decided by the mining sector, so news that China’s manufacturing output rose to a seven-month high in October has given the UK benchmark a boost.

The FTSE has been able to claw back some of yesterday's losses, with UK mining shares adding an average of 1% gains in early trade. Banks have also recovered slightly, with Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland finding some buyers again after investors' acute aversion to the financial sector on Wednesday.

WPP reported a 7.4% rise in Q3 revenue to £2.68bn. The company has done exceptionally well in terms of new acquisitions and business development. The share price climbed 2.3% on the news.

Rolls-Royce Group also motored up by 2.3% to the top spot on the index, having won a drilling rig contract in offshore Korea.

Weakness in emerging markets has been a problem for drinks maker Diageo lately. The international crackdown on corporate tax avoidance may also take its toll. Having seen a rise of almost 8% over the past fortnight, investors clearly think the £20 per share mark is a little frothy, and profit-taking has set in.

It’s not all good news: the fragile and fragmented nature of the recovery in the eurozone continues to be evident, as growth in business activity slowed in October. The services sector did not fare much better. Nevertheless, the euro continues to make progress against a put-upon dollar, rising through the 1.38 level for the first time since November 2011.

US unemployment claims and trade balance numbers are due out later this afternoon. The usual herd mentality and piling onto a bandwagon is in motion, with many investment banks not expecting QE tapering until March of next year. Any beating of expectations on these two data points could shake up the collective opinions, which are predominantly equity-bullish.

Existing home sales last week disappointed the markets, coming in beneath consensus. New home sales figures, considered a leading indicator of economic health, will need to at least show an annualised number of 427,000 for October to keep markets on side.

The Dow is expected to open 43 points higher at 15,457.

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