Equities steady after recent losses

A modest recovery in indices has seen the FTSE 100 rise ten points in early trading, aided by gains from Tesco and Vodafone, plus a little bit of sterling weakness.

  • Markets rise ahead of central bank speeches

  • UK CPI holds at 3%

  • Tesco gets the go-ahead, Vodafone looks ahead with confidence

Stock markets have seen tentative buying this morning, as they look to recover from a tough few days. However, with the central banking cabal of Yellen, Kuroda, Draghi and Carney to speak today it is not surprising to see the main indices mostly tread water so far this morning. Hopefully the BoE governor may offer some further light on the outlook for the UK, as inflation comes in at 3% and raises the prospect that, for now at least, the worst may be over for UK consumers in terms of price increases. With delicious irony, today’s topic for the big four is central bank communication, something at which the BoE has not exactly excelled in recent years. Cable surrendered its gains in the wake of the CPI figure, pushing towards the key $1.3050 level that has held fast since early October.

Top of the gainers this morning were Tesco and Vodafone. The former’s clearance for its takeover of Booker allows the titan to put its plans for growth into action, giving it an edge over its main rivals, and crucially, providing it with a wider moat with which to fend off the advance of the German discounters. Vodafone has returned to its winning ways as it upgrades earnings guidance, a welcome surprise for investors that have had to do with meagre fare in recent years.

Ahead of the open, we expect the Dow to start at 23,444, 5 points up on last night’s close.

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