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OPEC oil ministers are today converging on Vienna for their latest meeting, and as ever energy traders will be paying close attention to the comments coming from the delegates, particularly Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi. The last five weeks have seen oil prices slide back down to mid-April levels and this would certainly offer a global platform to drive this move on should the major oil-producing nations choose.
The events in Austria will only offer so much of a distraction from the ongoing Greek austerity discussions, as once again its finance minister Yanis Varoufakis is doing his best to destabilise investor confidence. The longer it takes to come to an agreeable consensus for all parties, the greater the chance of the Greek referendum to decide its continuing status in the eurozone. This looks increasingly like the best route to take because should the Greek voters choose to remain in the eurozone this would offer Syriza the mandate to break its election promises and become more flexible in negotiations.
Fueled by comments emanating from the board of Liberty Global, speculation that some form of partnership or possibly even a merger with Vodafone is getting more and more traction with traders. Of course just because there are some obvious synergies that could be gained in such a union, this currently just remains pure conjecture on the trading floors.
Halfords continues to see a growing love affair with cycling from the British public and this has helped revenues break above £1 billion. Regardless of the incline the share price has seen, the company continues to move through the gears in 2015. An extensive number of banks, not too dissimilar to the usual rogues gallery, are expected to broker an agreement to pay US regulators several billion US dollars. This time it is over indiscretions relating to historical mortgage business practices.
The first Friday of the month will once again see the usual volatility injection into the currency markets courtesy of the US non-farm payrolls figures. Having seen the previous three sets of figures being revised lower, and the slightly cooler economic data releases the US has had, expectations could be forgiven for dropping a little. Optimism however is not a commodity that US traders are normally short of and the markets still remain confident of broadly bullish data.
Ahead of the open we expect the Dow Jones to start 23 points higher at 17,928.