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Traders remain nervous as the compounding effect of quantitative easing tapering and the collapse of numerous emerging market currencies and indices take their toll on the bulls. The generally improving services PMI figures released throughout the morning are offering some comfort for European traders, as unfortunately the normally strong UK sector has given back some of its strength. As far as the economic releases are concerned it still feels like we are treading water until Friday’s main event, US non-farm payroll figures.
Royal & Sun Alliance has appointed Stephen Hester as its new CEO; considering his experience gained guiding the Royal Bank of Scotland, this will no doubt be considered an excellent appointment by the City.
Daily Mail and General Trust shares have been given a boost, having seen a jump in online advertising revenue. This is more than enough to cover the fall in hard copy ads.
With the companies holding in Zoopla continuing to add value, as well experiencing an improving income, it is no wonder the shares are 5% higher in early trading.
Although Hargreaves Lansdown has seen a substantial increase in new accounts following the rush from investors to partake in the government's Royal Mail IPO, shares are off this morning. This is due to the firm continuing to see issues with the low interest rate and the reversal of a decision to increase client fees – an action likely to help client retention but ultimately hinder revenues in the short-term.
Yesterday’s surprise announcement that Bill Gates will be stepping down as CEO of Microsoft should have shaken awake any US traders who had been drifting off as the US reporting season winds down. US markets have historically been able to revert to a bullish stance more readily than their European counterparts, but actions so far this week have given little reason to believe that they are ready for that just yet.
Ahead of the open, we expect the Dow Jones to start 26 points lower at 15,419.