Market momentum maintained by US jobs data

The colour red appears to have been banished from equity trading screens. As the majority of major equity markets charge higher, the FTSE is trying to hang on to its triple-digit gains heading into the close.

People at a jobs fair
Source: Bloomberg

Commodity and financial stocks drive FTSE higher 

After the US markets rallied following Janet Yellen’s dovish Federal Open Market Committee comments, European equities started off the day in bullish mood. As ever the FTSE has lagged its European counterparts and has taken until the afternoon session to join in all the fun.

Regardless of corporate grumbles about the unseasonably warm weather, today’s monthly retail sales figures have come in much better than expected and given UK equities a further leg up.

You can tell it’s a good day for the FTSE when there are not enough stocks to fill up the top five fallers list on the day’s movers. A combination of commodity and financial stocks have been at the forefront of the FTSE’s drive higher today, and considering how heavily they had been hit in the preceding week it is no surprise that they are having the biggest bounce.

Information about how BT plans to organise its acquisition of EE continues to come from the company, and a proposed £2 billion rights issue has kept today’s share move in the red.  

US jobs data improves

US markets have started off the day looking to continue clawing back the month’s losses. Yesterday’s moves were a good start, and in the early session this momentum looks to be maintained, with the better-than-expected pre-market drop in US unemployment claims aiding this move. The slightly damp Philadelphia Federal Reserve manufacturing figures may test the resilience of this move. 

Last night’s post-market second-quarter figures have confirmed that Oracle’s management have their heads in the clouds. Normally this would see investors running for the hills but tech savvy investors have deemed this encouraging enough to move the shares up by over 8% in the first couple of hours trading.

Gold returns to $1200

In contrast to last week’s worries that oil could be heading towards $40 a barrel, we have seen Brent crude comfortably remain above the $60 level all day. This move remains just a bounce and will need more than just the confidence-inducing words of Janet Yellen to break the bearish trend.

Intraday moves in gold have seen the precious metal trade as high as $1214, but a reluctance to cut the cord has seen the spot price gravitate back down to $1200. For the time being it looks like even more volatility and chaos will be required to move gold onto the next phase.  

SNB cuts interest rate

The Swiss National Bank has escalated the length a central bank will go to protect its sovereign currency by reducing its interest rate to negative 0.25%. The last couple of years have seen the SNB battle to keep the EUR/CHF pegged to the €1.20 level, and this latest action highlights the strength of its conviction to keep this going.

By the recent standards of the USD/RUB it has been a very quiet day, as the rouble has spent the majority of the session oscillating around 60 roubles to the US dollar mark. This stability is all the more impressive considering the hour-long ramble from Russian supremo Vladimir Putin stating how well the Russian economy was and how futile western currency traders’ efforts were in destabilising the country.

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