Markets bounce but caution remains

In mid-morning trading the FTSE 100 has risen 15 points, attempting to make its first real gains in almost a week.

Canary Wharf
Source: Bloomberg

Days of losses have given way to a small move higher for the index, having found something of a buying floor around 6750.

There is some bid activity, or at least potential bid activity, helping to push traders into action, as Shire rises on reports that the pharma firm has hired advisers to deal with any possible approaches.

Good figures from Whitbread have enlivened the situation too, with the shares up 3% after a buoyant start to the year. Headline risk remains however, in the form of the Iraq and Ukraine situations, and these will remain the main driver of sentiment for the coming day. 

The main news for the UK was the CPI reading, which came in lower than expected and presents the Bank of England with something of a dilemma – rising house prices but falling price growth in other parts of the economy.

The pound has dropped back as some traders scale back expectations of a 2014 rate hike, but most people are, sensibly, waiting for the BoE minutes tomorrow. Even then, these will come with a big health warning given the changes on the Monetary Policy Committee that are about to take effect, with three new members joining.

After a tiny gain last night, US markets will be looking to housing data to shift some of the emphasis on the deteriorating situation in Iraq. Reports of talks between the US and Iran have provided some relief, as has the news that the terrorist advance has stalled north of Baghdad. Crucially, the three-week rally in the S&P 500 is still intact, putting us back on course for a test of June highs around 1960. Ahead of the open, we’re calling the Dow Jones 25 points higher at 16,806.

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