FTSE closes up as investors look to Apple earnings

Heading into the close the FTSE 100 is up nine points and looks well placed to hold this move to the finish.

City traders have been given ample opportunity to upgrade their 'leaves on the line' excuses for Monday morning tardiness to 'trees on the line'. This certainly helped explain the eerie calmness of early morning markets as most train operators suspended travel until after 9am. Even the extra hour of exposure to US optimism has failed to move FTSE 100 traders out of neutral.

UK markets

It is difficult to draw too many conclusions from such a disjointed day of trading, with the city's desks only half full for most of the day, but you suspect this will not be the case tomorrow. Tuesday should offer traders the ability to chew through the after-market Apple figures and the sizable impact they will play on the NASDAQ and US investor sentiment.

Closer to home we will also see exactly where Lloyds Banking Group stand after the inevitable political rhetoric over its demise and subsequent re-emergence from under the government's wing. In mainland Europe we have the reporting figures of powerhouse financials UBS and Deutsche Bank to look forward too.

Aggreko has done well to absorb the loss of income from last year’s London 2012 Olympics and improving figures in both North and South America have gone some way to make up for the collapsing Australian market. Today’s market reaction will be welcome news to shareholders but still leaves some way to go before recapturing the heady heights of March this year.

US markets

Having passed the halfway mark for the third-quarter reporting season, few companies have managed to stir the imagination of the markets even though over two thirds of the companies have managed to beat expectations. One company with the cache and the cash that has the ability to buck the trend is Apple, with a cash balance many first-world countries would be envious of. The biggest debate is over what to do with it that surplus cash – investors led by Carl Ichan have been pushing for more than the anticipated $60 billion of the $146 billion war chest to be spent on share buybacks.

The Dow Jones once again finds itself just above the 15,600 level after the two previous trips resulted in a little altitude sickness, but could this be third time lucky especially with fears the Federal Reserve will start the tapering process this year fading by the day. If that is to be the case it will be no thanks to the US economic data released today, which looks to have cancelled itself. Any bullishness derived from the monthly industrial production figures will be more than offset with the awful monthly new home sales.

Commodities

Gold might just have managed to find its mojo having added over $100 in the last couple of weeks, though this would not be the first false dawn and you suspect that even the gold bugs would like to be a little bit more convinced.

Copper’s malaise over the last three months and the range-bound trading will have been given no reason to head higher after today’s monthly US new home sales figures. This could be a further nail in the 2013 tapering coffin as once gain markets perceive 'bad news as good news'.

FX

The US dollar bashing that seemed to be prevalent by most of the major currency pairs in the last couple of weeks looks to have run its course as both GBP/USD and EUR/USD have given up a little ground and show no signs of heading higher at least in the short term.

The Australian dollar is looking nervous ahead of the statement from the Reserve Bank of Australia, and having twice cut interest rates in the last six months traders are pondering how low the base rate will tumble.

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