Whenever the Americans are on holiday it always feels as if markets in Europe and the UK are enjoying a day off as well, in the knowledge that sobriety will return when US markets reopen. Helped by a burst of late sunshine however, the FTSE is putting in a solid performance today, making triple-digit gains before noon. Good Chinese data gave a lift to miners, but with so much US data coming up it is possible that we have now seen much of the excitement for this week.
Being a hotspot for all things commodity-related, it was not surprising to see investors take the modest improvement in Chinese figures and use it to lift mining stocks. Throw in some good figures from the UK and Europe and it becomes clear why we have got off to such a strong start. Vodafone is in the ascendant again today, although its gains pale in comparison to Thursday’s jump. The big question now is what the company will do with its windfall; the telecommunications company needs to think hard to come up with a suitable replacement for its Verizon Wireless stake, which proved such a successful part of its armoury.
US markets are closed for Labor Day, but the week just gets busier from here, as tapering looms. It will be nice to finally get on with this long-foretold event, which has hung like the sword of Damocles over trading in August.
It is often forgotten that silver has a major industrial use and this is partly why the white metal has left its bigger brother gold in the dust, up 4% today and now 30% higher from the June lows. If the HSBC China PMI shows similar improvement to today’s then the new bull market in silver may have further to run.
Sterling continues to thumb its nose at the Bank of England, moving further away from last week’s lows after today’s excellent manufacturing PMI number. More data like this and the governor may well begin to look silly; economists already think that the bank will have to move earlier than previously thought, and today’s data only adds to this perception.