In mid-morning trading the FTSE 100 is slightly lower, down ten points, as investors await testimony from Jerome Powell.

-       Equities remain cautious before Powell’s appearance

-       Fed expectations dialled back after NFPs

-       Recruiters suffer after PageGroup warning

The week so far has seen investors take a broadly cautious stance, as they wait for what Jerome Powell has to say. The expectations game has changed wildly since the last Fed meeting, especially since Friday’s jobs report caught investors on the hop with a much better headline figure, and now a cautious cut of just 25 basis points is the expectation, with the Fed perhaps rowing back on some of its previous dovishness. Powell himself has attempted to calm hopes of a dramatic shift in policy, and should he take this tone today we could see equities register their disappointment, to say nothing of what the President might decide to tweet. Markets have been unable to find reasons to maintain the rally seen in June and July, and the impending arrival of US earnings season will be yet another reason for most investors to await better opportunities, perhaps once the summer is out of the way.

Yesterday it was BASF that unnerved investors with its warning about the global economy. Today UK recruiter PageGroup provides a similar warning from a different perspective, as it suffers from the impact of trade wars and the ever-present Brexit problem. The share price had already been reflecting these concerns, having stalled at the April high and refusing go to any higher, and today’s warning has seen investors act in an understandable fashion, cutting their exposure to the stock on fears that trade wars, while quiet, have not yet gone away.

Ahead of the open, we expect the Dow to start at 26,738, down 45 points on last night’s close.

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