After having been under starter’s orders for what seems like months, our politicians are finally out of the stalls and racing for the finish line. All seemed to start with a sprint rather than pacing themselves, as they vie for the right headlines. So far, although early days, if the campaigns continue in the same vein as yesterday then we’ll be in for four weeks of the same old rhetoric. Labour will claim that they’ve dragged us out of recession and are the best of a bad bunch to continue doing the job, the Tories will sound like a broken record saying they’ll bring change and attack Labour’s record for being in the driving seat in when we suffered from one of the greatest recessions on record, and the Lib Dems will try to get more people to recognise their leader.
Whilst the political wrangling goes on, the FTSE will take little notice. April is historically a strong month for equity markets and not usually very volatile, so there is a strong likelihood of the grind continuing to increase.
European indices played catch up with US markets yesterday, as investors returned from the extended Easter break, and once again it was the mining stocks that led the gains. This morning sees a tiny bit of profit taking on the open, but bulls will continue to have the magic 6000 level in their sights. Before then though, a couple of resistance levels have to be overcome around 5810 and 5890.
There’s little in the way of economic data today, apart from PMI services numbers this morning, and later this evening over in the US Bernanke gives a speech on the economy in Dallas, so there might be a little bit of volatility in the US session later today.
As the IMF arrives in Greece to go through their books, volatility in currency markets could remain high. The euro suffered again, as fears of stringent conditions attached to any IMF bailout caused investors to shun the single currency. EUR/USD slipped sharply from the 1.3500 yesterday, and this morning is trading around 1.3385. Bears will have the lows around 1.3270 firmly in their sights, after yet another attempt at a recovery failed.
Cable also took a slight bashing in sympathy and even suffered further losses when investors saw Gordon pop out of Number 10 to announce the election with a big grin on his face, brimming with confidence and a bit of fear crept in as the markets thought “what if” Labour manage to make a come back against the odds. Sterling recovered a little towards the end of the day and is around 1.5250 this morning. Sterling fluctuations will moist likely be influenced heavily by swings in the polls, with any narrowing of the polls leading to further sterling weakness. Levels to watch in the near term are 1.5180 and 1.5125 to the downside and 1.5315 and 1.5385 to the upside.
Gold benefited well out of the euro weakness and worries over Greece once again. The move over the last few days has been complemented by a bit of dollar strength, which is not usually the case. Back around the 1135-40 level, the next resistance levels are seen at 1141 and 1145, of which a break above could lead to 1160. Support is around 1123 and 1119 then 1112.
Crude also did well and added to gains over recent days making new highs, although stalling towards the end of the day. This morning we’re at 86.80 and now that we’ve broken to new 18-month highs, bulls are touting the $100 level again. Any further bullish economic data will help support oil prices going forward. This afternoon sees the weekly inventory numbers, so the usual health warning applies.