Wednesday morning snapshot

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

Last night in the US: The Dow Jones closed up 89 points at 16,262, the NASDAQ finished up 11 points at 4034 and the S&P 500 ended the day up 12 points at 1842.

This morning in London: The FTSE 100 is currently up 52 points at 6593.

FX and commodities: GBP/USD is up 14 pips at $1.6743, EUR/USD is up 12 pips at $1.3826 and USD/JPY is up 32 pips at ¥102.22. Brent crude is down 24 cents at $109.03 and gold is trading at $1299, down $2.25.

Stocks: A plethora of stocks have gone ex-dividend today accounting for 3.2 points being taken off the FTSE. For the second year in a row Tesco has reported a drop in its profits, this time by 6%, citing squeezed margins and competitors eating into its market share. Burberry, on the other hand, continued to benefit from its Asian exposure with sales increasing by 19% in the second half of the year. Reckitt Benckiser has stated it is on course to meet its full-year targets and has seen a like-for-like increase in sales of 4%. BHP Billiton has increased its target for full-year iron ore production by five million tonnes because of improvements in Australia.  

The day ahead: Overnight Chinese GDP figures came in at 7.4%, down from the previous 7.7%, but in line with expectations. Along with this, we also saw slightly weaker industrial production figures but improving retail sales. Traders will now be waiting to see the latest UK unemployment figures followed by European inflation figures. This afternoon will once again see Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen speaking and at a separate event, Federal Open Market Committee member Richard Fisher will also be talking prior to the release of the Fed Beige Book.

All figures correct at 8.10am. All times London time.

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