Quadruple witching Friday not as bullish as expected

Pre-market expectations had been for a more bullish move but, regardless, the FTSE 100 is still up a healthy 38 points in the first couple of hours' trading. 

London skyline
Source: Bloomberg

As the month of December goes this one has been particularly punchy, and we have seen more volatility and volumes than we have become accustomed to in recent years. Today is 'quadruple witching' – when various stock index futures, stock index options, stock options and single stock futures expire on the same day – which should ensure equity markets benefit from another catalyst running into the end of the week.

Considering how the French economy has been creaking, it is maybe no real surprise that Francois Hollande has been the first member of the Western sanctions nations to ask if a more relaxed attitude towards Russia is required.

Vodafone looks set to spend a little more of that money it has stockpiled as it has (with a little government coercion) agreed to improve its UK coverage to 90% by 2017.

British American Tobacco has agreed another litigation payout, this time for $575 million for Flintkote.

Posting its third profit warning in the last three months, Air France-KLM seems determined to boost sentiment for AIG, Ryanair and easyJet as it has chopped a further €200 million off its year-end targets. 

Regardless of the fresh JP Morgan-note inspired speculation surrounding its accounting deficiencies, Tesco sits atop of the FTSE climbers list.  

Two weeks ago we were looking forward to the prospect of the Dow Jones breaking 18,000, then a week later we were looking at it breaking 17,000. We now find ourselves back where we began, debating the possibility of the Dow breaking back above 18,000. If US markets can get anywhere near replicating yesterday’s moves this 18,000 level will be a hurdle the Dow can clear with some ease today. The 709 points that have been added to the Dow in the last 48 hours have seen the bounce moving at a more aggressive pace than the selloff did.

Ahead of the open we expect the Dow to start 90 points higher at 17,868. 

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