European markets opened in positive territory this morning with the FTSE Eurofirst 300 and the FTSE All-Share both up 0.8%. This follows strong overnight results from IBM and Google.
J Sainsbury's share price was down after a 10% jump yesterday on takeover speculation.
US equities finished higher on Thursday, with the Dow Jones up 0.5% after breaking to a new high for 2009. The S&P 500 finished up 0.4%. Oil rose above US$77, which led energy shares higher, but the banking sector fell back, despite the Q3 results from Citigroup and Goldman Sachs being ahead of forecasts.
Sterling racked up its biggest one-day gain in almost a year yesterday on speculation that the Bank of England may suspend quantitative easing (QE) at £175 billion. The longer-term trend has been one of weakness though, as the pound remains about 20% lower (on a trade-weighted basis) than it was when the crisis began two years ago.
Record low interest rates in the UK and continued QE have reduced the relative attractiveness of sterling as a currency in which to invest. The state of UK public finances is also seen as a risk: if investors begin to question the ability of the UK government to finance its debt, this could lead investors to sell UK gilts and shun the pound.
Market snapshots (at 10:23):
FTSE All-Share: +0.49%
FTSE 100: +0.49%
FTSE 250: +0.55%
FTSE AIM: -0.06%
Previous working day closing figures:
Dow Jones: 10,062.94
FTSE All-Share: 2,687.13
FTSE 100: 5,222.95
FTSE 250: 9,485.17
FTSE AIM: 675.12
This daily market update has been brought to you by Henderson New Star in association with Incisive Media.
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