A perfect storm of low volumes, geopolitical worries and pulled mergers is conspiring to keep markets on the back foot.
Yet again the August malaise is afflicting global equity markets, but with the losses not yet approaching a full correction there seems every likelihood that more downside is in store. With earnings still holding up and the US economy moving ahead it is only likely to be a temporary selloff, but investors should be ready to maintain their grim determination throughout the rest of the month.
Standard Chartered saw profits drop as expected, down 20%, but there seems to be more bad news on the way as the CEO warns of a difficult year. Legal & General, however, is sailing higher after surprising with a jump in annuity sales that leaves the insurer in a far better position than some of its peers.
The conditions still seem to point towards more pain for equity investors, especially now the big name earnings are mostly out of the way. Ukraine should continue to be the big worry, especially if the US feels the need to comment publicly on Russian troop movements.
With the Dow Jones brushing the 200-day moving average for the first time since the end of January, there will be a lot of nervous bulls out there. Ahead of the open we expect the Dow to open 30 points lower at 16,400.