European markets boosted by drop in unemployment

Ahead of the US open, the European indices have added to their early morning gains, boosted by broadly better economic data.

This morning’s manufacturing PMI figures were especially good for the UK, confirming that growth was at its best level for the last two years. The June gauge of 52.5 was comfortably above the key level of 50, with anything below reflecting contraction and anything above indicating growth. This looks like a welcome present for the new man at the helm of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, who has finally taken over from Sir Mervyn King. The Canadian’s tenure is for five years, and he is the first foreigner to have taken the role in the institution’s history. If he is able to replicate the performance that he managed to achieve while guiding the Bank of Canada through the last five years of financial crisis, then the government will be very pleased.

For a change, the banking sector is helping the FTSE 100, with all the major banks better on the day. And with the mining sector also doing its best to stage a bounce after an awful few weeks, the FTSE has managed a rise of almost 1% an hour before the US open. Assuming the US manufacturing figures can maintain the form shown in Europe, the FTSE should be set for an impressive start to the second half of the year.

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