Equities end higher

Stocks have finished the day as they started, on a positive note, as investor confidence remains reasonably buoyant.

European markets closed a touch higher on the day, as a mixture of good corporate earnings and positive economic indicators encouraged traders to go long. The eurozone debt crisis has managed to stay off the radar, which is partly due to the fact that most politicians are on holiday. The decline in the cost of borrowing for the Italian government also put the region in a good light.

The UK banking sector was the worst performer. Barclays revealed a drop in first-half profits, partially due to fines in relation to the mis-selling of financial products. Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) will release their figures on Thursday and Friday respectively.

In the US, the Dow is up 20 points at 15,541, as corporate earnings are mostly positive. Herbalife is up 4% after the nutritional products giant announced an 18% rise in sales. The firm also upped its full-year outlook. United States Steel, on the other hand, reported a smaller-than-expected second-quarter loss and is ‘cautious’ about the next three months. The stock is down 5%.

This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.

Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 79% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage.