Markets Overview: (Source: Bloomberg, FT, Reuters, DJ Newswires)
FTSE 100 Index called to open flat at 7265, still flirting with a breakout beyond November intersecting falling highs resistance, but well off 7310 overnight highs. Bulls point to 7-day rising support from 7100 which, coupled with rising highs resistance, equates to a bullish rising channel. Bears highlight the inability to hold the breakout above 7250. Watch levels: Bullish 7285, Bearish 7250
Calls for a flat open stem from a waning of early bullishness in Asian trading, investors digesting co-ordinated US/UK/FR military intervention in Syria over the weekend (more to come?) coupled with the threat of Russian sanctions on the US (Titanium exports, food imports, nuclear energy cooperation) which risks emulating the US-China tariff situation, reviving fears of a trade war/disruption.
Oil prices off their recent highs but holding up well in light of Middle East tensions and the threat of further US sanctions on Russia (and vice-versa). Sentiment perhaps balanced by a steady USD as well as OPEC production cuts and optimistic monthly reports from both OPEC and the IEA last week. Gold steady at $1340
In corporate news this morning, WPP CEO Martin Sorrell steps down with immediate effect to reduce stress on the company from an investigation linked to alleged misconduct. After last week’s falls for Russian EN+ and Rusal, note the latter down another 20% in Hong Kong overnight. Johnson Matthey appoints Patrick Thomas as Chairman designate. Housebuilders may be sensitive to Rightmove price data suggesting a decline in February (London own for a third straight month). Shire announces sale of oncology business (no longer core) to Servier for $2.4bn, will consider returning proceeds via buyback.
In focus today, another a sparse data for macro data, will US Retail Sales (1.30pm) forecast to have rebounded in March, although the ex-Autos metric may well have gathered a little steam. The data is of interest for its inflationary read across as well as its bearing on consumer sentiment. The same is true for NAHB Housing Market Index (3pm), although this is expected to have held flat in April. Both could influence the USD.
In term of speakers we have only the Fed’s Bostic (8.15pm) today, talking about Employment and Rural Market trends.
Major events this week, elsewhere include the remaining US Banks Q1 Results (Bank of America today, Goldman Sachs Tuesday and Morgan Stanley on Tuesday) as earnings ramps up in the US (others this week include Netflix, IBM, J&J, Alcoa, P&G, GE and many more see our Week In Advance for full list) followed by China GDP (Tuesday) and UK inflation (Wednesday), UK Retail Sales (Thursday).
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