Heading into the close, the FTSE 100 is up 50 points, while US equities start the day in bullish form. 

It is a Friday, so today must be ‘hope for trade deal progress’ day in markets. Indices on both sides of the Atlantic are in positive territory, with US futures shrugging off some early weakness to move higher. On a day of sparse macro news, markets are bound to be receptive to hopes that the US and China are moving toward a conclusion, but such optimism fades easily if a denial comes through. However, equities have recovered their poise from the wobble last week, and have been moving higher all week, defying those who had thought a renewed bear market was at hand. If the S&P 500 can close above 2815 today then it has further solidified its position, and talk of new all-time highs cannot be
 far off. 

The 9% in Restaurant Group’s shares barely puts a dent in the decline, and ‘better than feared’ when it comes to sales is hardly a winning strategy. The Wagamama chain offers the chance of improvement, but in a competitive market with pricing pressures one set of good numbers is hardly enough to drive a meaningful change in the longer-term.

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