It looks to be a dull end to the week, at least in macro-economic terms. The major excitement of the day was news from China, and with this out of the way we could struggle to build up much enthusiasm for the final hours of trading this week. An early move higher was swiftly cancelled out, indicating that traders are still erring on the side of caution when it comes to pushing this market higher.
Miners are the real bright spot for the FTSE 100 this morning, after well-received Chinese economic data gave investors a reason to lift raw materials stocks. The broader FTSE 350 mining sector is down 17% this year, although that figure would look a lot worse if you stripped out the July bounce. The FTSE 350 itself is up 12.5% so far in 2013, and there are justified concerns that the wider market cannot in all likelihood sustain this discrepancy for much longer. Nonetheless, with China edging towards fresh stimulus measures (albeit not on the scale of 2008/9) there is perhaps hope that the miners can play catch-up. For euro-watchers, the announcement of the ECB’s latest three-year LTRO repayment will be a key event this morning, Given the near 200-point rally in EUR/USD in August, it would not be surprising to see this as an excuse for a touch of profit-taking by some, especially as the euro is now at its highest level versus the US dollar since mid-February.
Bereft of economic news, US markets may struggle this afternoon. However, even with taper concerns, the broader picture looks a lot more positive. Given that new listings in the US have hit a post-crisis high this quarter, we can be reasonably confident that companies are more upbeat about the future now, with the steady improvement in the economy adding to the positive outlook. Ahead of the open, we expect the Dow to start 50 points lower at 15,450.