Thursday morning snapshot

A snapshot of the early morning's equity news and key market movements.

Last night in the US: The Dow Jones closed down 189 points at 15,738, the NASDAQ finished down 46 points at 4051 and the S&P 500 ended the day down 18 points at 1774.

This morning in London: The FTSE 100 is currently down 21 points at 6522.

FX and commodities: GBP/USD is down 35 pips at $1.6526, EUR/USD is down 37 pips at $1.3625 and USD/JPY is up two pips at ¥102.30. Brent crude is down three cents at $107.77 and gold is trading at $1257, down $9.85.

Stocks: The utilities sector appears to be running smoothly, as both United Utilities and National Grid have stated that they expect trading to be in line with expectations. Like several copper companies yesterday, Kazakhmys has been able to post good figures as annual production has come in at the top end of expectations. Cooling demand in Asian markets has caused Diageo’s first-half profits to disappoint, with sales rising by only 1.8%. Better-than-expected conversions to HD TV have helped BSkyB to post first-half figures that beat forecasts, although due to BT’s challenge costs have increased.

The day ahead: Overnight, HSBC’s final manufacturing PMI for China has contracted again. This morning we will get an update on the UK lending market and the M4 money supply along with mortgage approvals. In the early afternoon we will see how the US unemployment claims are behaving, and US pending home sales figures are also due for release.

All figures correct at 8.15am. All times London time.

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