The FTSE 100 index opened barely changed Thursday at 7253.42 following on from a slightly weaker close in the US markets and a lower tone in Asia.

The prospect of a new escalation of geopolitical tensions over Syria weighed on the market as did the minutes from the US Federal Reserve released Wednesday that showed that US financial policy makers are considering slowing down the US economy. But these concerns were balanced by overall good earnings so far both in the UK and the US, with more positive results expected from big US banks Thursday and Friday.

The Nikkei Stock Average nudged down 0.1% but the Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index firmed up 0.82%. In the US the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.9% lower on the day while the S&P 500 fell 0.55%.

Stagnant UK property market makes a May rate increase less likely

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors reported that demand from UK property buyers had fallen in March for its 12th consecutive month against expectations of a 2% increase on the month. This could affect Bank of England policy makers when they meet in May as there was some anticipation that the bank may opt to increase interest rates from the current 0.5%. However, a stagnant property market would make this move less likely. More than 9 million UK households have a mortgage, and of that about one half are on a tracker rate which rises in line with the BoE’s interest rates.

Oil prices hit a three-year high

As the rhetoric in Washington becomes more hostile towards Russia and the prospect of imminent airstrikes in Syria becomes more likely, oil prices are responding with a push upwards to the highest level in three years. June Brent crude rose 0.1%, to $72.15 a barrel having closed up 1.4% on Wednesday. May WTI crude firmed 0.3%, to $67.01 a barrel after closing 2% higher the day before.

Mothercare retail sales fall but online traffic is higher

Baby goods retailer Mothercare joined a string of British businesses affected by the cold spell in in February and March and reported that its March sales have fallen, although higher online buying compensated for some of the decline. Mothercare sales fell 2.8% in total over the last 12 weeks but internet sales were up 2.1% and purchases from its own website rose 7.2%. The company said that the footfall in the store continues to be lower and is planning to reduce the number of stores it owns. Additional promotional activity will also be required to revive some of the waning demand.

What a Saga

Saga, the over-50s travel and insurance company which has been hit by the collapse of budget airline Monarch Airlines last year, reported a marginal rise in full-year pretax profit. The company, which specialises in ocean cruises and escorted tours, saw pretax profit rise to £190.1 million from £187.4 million pounds, but warned that the market remains challenging. Brexit woes are affecting not only the travel division of the company but are having an even deeper impact on the insurance part of the business were home insurance premiums are showing signs of inflation. The company declared a final dividend of 6 pence a share which will see its full-year dividend rise 5.9% to 9 pence a share.

CFD and forex trading are leveraged products and can result in losses that exceed your deposits. They may not be suitable for everyone. Ensure you fully understand the risks. From time to time, City Index Limited’s (“we”, “our”) website may contain links to other sites and/or resources provided by third parties. These links and/or resources are provided for your information only and we have no control over the contents of those materials, and in no way endorse their content. Any analysis, opinion, commentary or research-based material on our website is for information and educational purposes only and is not, in any circumstances, intended to be an offer, recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell. You should always seek independent advice as to your suitability to speculate in any related markets and your ability to assume the associated risks, if you are at all unsure. No representation or warranty is made, express or implied, that the materials on our website are complete or accurate. We are not under any obligation to update any such material. As such, we (and/or our associated companies) will not be responsible or liable for any loss or damage incurred by you or any third party arising out of, or in connection with, any use of the information on our website (other than with regards to any duty or liability that we are unable to limit or exclude by law or under the applicable regulatory system) and any such liability is hereby expressly disclaimed

Analysis feed

Latest Forex Analysis

Editors’ Picks

GBP/USD surges toward 1.3150 amid upbeat UK data, USD weakness

GBP/USD has been extending its gains after the British CBI Trends figure beat expectations. Markets are pricing a BOE rate cut less aggressively. The US dollar is on the back foot across the board amid reduced coronavirus fears.


EUR/USD struggles to recover amid Trump's tariff threats

EUR/USD is trading below 1.11, close to the three-week lows, as President Trump continues threatening the EU with car tariffs. Markets remain concerned about the spreading coronavirus disease. 


BoC goes dovish, USD/CAD jumps above 1.31

In a widely expected decision, the Bank of Canada on Wednesday announced that it left its policy rate unchanged at 1.75% at its January policy meeting. In its policy statement, the BoC noted that it sees less risk of an extreme downside scenario related to trade tensions.

Read more

Gold Price Analysis: Intraday uptick falters near 50-hour SMA, remains vulnerable

Gold lacked any firm directional bias and seesawed between tepid gains/minor losses through the mid-European session on Wednesday.

Gold News

USD/JPY rises above 110.00, potential head-and-shoulders on 1H

Risk reset in stocks is boding well for USD/JPY.  The pair may be forming a head-and-shoulders pattern on the hourly chart. The bulls are not out of the woods yet and a break above 110.12 is needed to invalidate lower highs setup on the hourly chart.


Forex Majors