FTSE sets off at healthy pace

The FTSE is up 36 points after the first hour of trading.

Rolls-Royce engine
Source: Bloomberg

Asian markets' resilience overnight has given European traders a fresh boost of optimism, possibly coupled with the Friday feel-good factor, and helped ensure all the major equity markets steer clear of any red. European Central Bank president Mario Draghi will once again be the focus of early morning traders as he speaks at the 24th European Banking Congress. Markets will be interested to see if there are any new ideas on how to improve the trickle of cash that is coming out of banks and going to small- and medium-sized businesses, while at the same time monitoring his comments for any reference to the mythical European quantitative easing.

Rolls-Royce has benefited on the back of Delta Airlines' order of 50 new Airbus planes, as the British engineering firm will be responsible for providing the $5 billion worth of engines required for the fleet. For the first time this week the FTSE fallers list is not dominated by the mining sector, as 24 hours of stability in the commodities markets has finally given them a little respite. The same can’t be said for Serco as a cloud of uncertainty continues to hang over the company. Having already sold off by some 35% over the course of this week, it has seen another 6% knocked off in the morning session, as markets fret over who they can find as chairman following Alastair Lyons' resignation.

Regardless of the wobbles that both Asia and Europe have had this week, the US markets continue to power on – almost oblivious to anyone else. It is hard to see what might rock the boat, as today is another day with limited corporate announcements and a scarcity of economic data releases. This means calm conditions for US equity markets to carry on plain sailing.

Ahead of the open we expect the Dow Jones to start 57 points higher at 17,776.

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