Numbers are due out from Glaxo at mid day today which should give a bit of a nudge to the FTSE but BG Group’s data out early this morning has followed in the steps of BP yesterday with better than forecast results. Estimates for £444m profit were exceeded to the tune of £30m even though prices for LNG remained weak. The extreme price variations for gas over the last few years has prompted some movement away from the energy source just as its price has tumbled to very depressed levels. While Oil has recovered somewhat gas remains in the doldrums.
Commentators are rightly pointing out that the big weighting stocks in the FTSE are not particularly helpful in untangling the current state of the UK economy as they increasingly reflect the status of the non domestic world economy. BAT, BG, Glaxo etc will probably continue to show better than expected results especially in sterling terms.
On a more positive note Carpetright also made a trading statement this morning showing same store sales up over 5pc for the last qtr (although European sales down 9pc might be a bit of a worry). This coupled with the CBI saying that retail sales were at a near 2 year high is giving some boost to hopes that the economy is not (yet!) slipping into a double dip recession.
The FTSE is called some 10 points off at 5190 and just for the moment the usual ability of the index to shrug off any selling pressure is being tested. For months now two or three negative sessions has just about been our lot as far as the bears are concerned and rather more pointedly the markets immediate reaction to any weakness has been an immediate strong move up to new highs. Looking at the charts we seem to always need a small sell off to trigger renewed buying. Punters have taken this on board and have been buying strongly in all our indices at these levels, unfortunately there must also be that little word of caution that if we have another down day (especially if we close below 5165) then the upward momentum might well be seen to have run its course for the time being.
Currency markets are also showing a slightly different face this morning. With the Dollar and Pound both looking rather more comfortable than at some points in the recent past. The Euro has slipped from the highs at 1.5050 down to the current price of 1.4830 and every attempt to rebound has run into renewed selling. This seems to be triggered as the US markets come on line in the early afternoon and we may be seeing some confidence from the States that the Dollar is not quite as terminally holed below the water line as some have speculated.
This afternoon sees the US Durable Goods orders at 12.30 and these are expected to come in better at about plus 0.7pc. The markets have started to take numbers rather less euphorically than over the last six months so we may need to better these to get a good impetus to the upside. In the Oil markets we get our weekly Wednesday heart attack at 14.30 with the inventory numbers. These are expected to be higher again, following a long string of increasing storage numbers. This is usual at this time of year as, with winter approaching, oil companies hoard supply to ensure no shortage during the cold months. With Oil still pressured to the upside (albeit three dollar off the recent highs) a weak number here might have a rather over enthusiastic effect. Traders should beware some violent activity over the 14.30-14.45 time slot this afternoon.
Gold has slipped to 1038 this morning but as mentioned yesterday there was an attempt to push lower in the mid afternoon as stops below 1036 were attacked taking us down sharply to 1032 only for the buyers to push us back up to the safety of the current trading range.