FTSE manages small jump in quiet early session

Summer malaise is in evidence today, as the FTSE has added a quick 25 points to 6875, after futures were static since yesterdays close. Having managed a snug 22-point range yesterday, traders are already cheerful to see a “move”.

Low volumes are helping the trend, with the headline index starting to head down towards the 500 million shares level average. Much of Europe takes a holiday today, although many markets remain open, so we expect to see this help that average track lower. 

Yesterday’s hot stock leads us again this morning, as Smith & Nephew adds another 2%. Blink and you would have missed it, as the Financial Times story of a bid from US competitor Stryker was quickly quashed by the suitor. With well over half the day’s volume going through in the hour around the two contrasting stories, and just scraps before the news, traders are clearly jumping at any chance to scoop out the move. The quick rebuttal should perhaps act as a warning though, a market grinding higher on low volume and presenting few opportunities will see a frenzy when it does finally throw up a carrot to chase.

Disappointing investors today were B&Q owners Kingfisher. Headline numbers might have looked peaky, but missed the all-important analyst estimates, and showed a familiar macro theme of tightening margins in the UK and a reluctant consumer in France. A special dividend will have helped the long term holders, but another summer like last year would not go a miss.    

Retracing off the all-time highs yesterday, US indices are tracking back in this morning’s futures markets, with the opening call for the Dow Jones at 16,655, up 20, and 1912 for the S&P 500, up 3 points.

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