FTSE clings to positive end

Heading into the close, the FTSE 100 is up only five points as it clings to a positive end to the first-quarter of 2014.

At the end of the first-quarter of 2014 we have seen a mixed bag of results from equity markets, with those closing in positive territory doing so by the slimmest of margins. The week ahead is packed with economic data more than capable of jump-starting the markets and today's talks from both Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen and Bank of England governor Mark Carney are merely the entrées. 

Miners push FTSE higher

As the first-quarter of 2014 draws to a close the FTSE has looked increasingly unlikely to end it in a blue hue. A collection of money-lending and M4 supply figures have helped ease the market higher, but it all looks too little too late. 

Following last week’s capitulation in the insurance sector, a mild recovery has ensued today but at this rate its recovery might not be complete by the time I retire. 

Fresh comments out of Asia have given the mining sector renewed optimism that Chinese stimulus is on its way, and is showing the sort of resilience that the English Twenty20 cricket team appear to be lacking; the miners have edged the FTSE higher.

US looks to non-farms figure 

As ever the first week at the start of the month sees traders eyeing plenty of pieces of the economic jigsaw in the run up to the end of this week’s non-farm employment change figure. 

Today’s speech from Ms Janet Yellen stated that 'commitment is still needed and will be for some time', bringing into question the current market assessment of the quantitative easing tapering timeline. With the US having looked around for someone else to take the baton from them, there is renewed optimism that China is about to step up to the mark and boost equities with its own stimulus package. All of this sets up the markets nicely in the final run up to the latest US reporting season.

Gold trading in tight range

The momentum to gold's collapse appears to have run out of steam for the time being. The tight trading range seen in the last couple of days is in sharp contrast to the 7% drop that was squeezed out of the precious metal in the previous two weeks, and could indicate that this leg down has run its course.

Traders prepare for EU inflation figure

A thirty-point move higher in EUR/USD reflects a currency market that has been mentally preparing itself for the EU’s latest inflation figures to disappoint. Even though Japanese inflation is now three times the levels found in the eurozone, few traders have been shocked into action by today's revelations.  

New tax laws are about to commence in Japan and this might account for the marginally higher levels in the USD/JPY which has found it particularly difficult in moving too far away from the $102 level.

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