Markets wary as non-farm payrolls approach

Heading into the close, the FTSE 100 is down ten points as tapering fears pick up.

Banks in disgrace

Banking stocks are back on the naughty step after being fined a collective €1.7 billion by the European Commission for manipulating LIBOR. And although Barclays avoided a fine by ratting out the other rate-riggers, the stock is still in the red.

Tesco has gone from bad to worse. The third-biggest retailer in the world issued a profit warning in October, and today's update has hardly put shareholders in the festive spirit.

The mining sector is in positive territory for a change, as short-covering and stronger metal prices are encouraging traders to bottom-pick.

Potential pre-Christmas tapering

Traders are becoming nervous ahead of the Friday’s unemployment rate announcement. Today’s ADP employment report smashed expectations and reminded traders that tapering could happen this side of Christmas. Ben Bernanke is likely to keep the bond-buying scheme unchanged at the mid-December Federal Reserve meeting, but some traders are using this as a last chance to pocket profits before the non-farm payrolls figure on Friday.

Gold regains lustre

Gold is in demand again as bargain-hunting sets in for the final month of the year. The metal is on track to post its first annual loss in 12 years, and some dealers feel it has been oversold.

AUD/USD in decline

The Australian dollar has lost over 1% versus the greenback after news that the country is growing at a marginal rate. The boom days are over, and the Reserve Bank of Australia could look to lower rates in the new year.

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