Expectations of an imminent US rate cut are boosting the FTSE and other European markets this morning following yesterday's testimony to Congress by Fed chairman Jay Powell. His cautious comments about the effects of trade tensions and the strength of the global economy on economic growth in the US were interpreted almost as a full blown assurance that a rate cut would happen at the end of July.
While stocks seem to be having a field day the currency markets are a bit more cautious given that Jay Powell will continue his testimony for a second day today. His comments caused the dollar to yo-yo throughout the previous session ending with a plunge and this morning the greenback continued downhill against most majors. This is good news for the pound which otherwise had little by way of domestic news to lift it off its current lows.
In London home builders and property companies are gaining after yesterday's better-than-expected UK GDP data. Though the economy grew by the smallest of margins, the fact that it grew rather than shrank after Brexit didn't happen and Theresa May resigned, gave rise to hopes that the housing market would also perform better than expected over the next few months.
Oil stocks are only slightly higher but could attract some more volatility later in the day as oil prices are rising ahead of the first potentially major hurricane of the season in the Gulf of Mexico.
Hurricane threat and Gulf tensions lift Brent
Gulf of Mexico producers are bracing for the potential hurricane named Barry and have shuttered a third of their offshore oil production ahead of expected landfall this weekend. Brent is at $67.60 and rising as the supply situation in the Persian Gulf is also becoming more uncertain after Iranian Revolutionary Guard gunboat approached a British tanker. The move is believed to come in response to British Royal Marines stopping a tanker with Iranian oil off the coast of Gibraltar last week after which Iran vowed to reciprocate "at a suitable time and in a suitable place."
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