An initial advance for London was founded on energy companies and airlines, with the former rallying after good news from Tullow and Petrofac, while a drop back in oil prices aided the airline sector. However German IFO figures were below expectations, sending European bourses back downwards once again.
The big event of the morning for the UK will be Mark Carney’s speech to MPs. He can expect a fairly rigorous grilling by concerned parliamentarians on the subject of his apparent shift towards a more hawkish posture, but his real challenge will be similar to that faced by Janet Yellen in her congressional testimony – i.e. giving answers that are outwardly satisfying while simultaneously avoiding over-committing himself in any one policy direction. This in itself will provide more than enough entertainment for sterling watchers, even as the pound continues its long march higher.
The US housing market comes into focus this afternoon, following on from yesterday’s existing home sales. It was a firmly indecisive session for Wall Street, with markets continuing their modest pullback from last week’s gains. Stocks could really do with a firm bounce in economic data that can underpin fresh gains and help to block out some of the news from Iraq that is beginning to sap confidence.
Ahead of the open, we expect the Dow Jones to start 30 points lower at 16,907.