Stock markets have tiptoed higher this morning, marking a brief pause in the downward move that has dominated the week so far.

  • Equities edge up, with UK stocks supported by some better corporate news

  • Still time for more downside ahead of the election

  • Lloyds rallies, but outlook for the sector still grim

A degree of calm has descended on markets again today, with some overnight reversal for equity markets, ahead of a vital day of central bank news, GDP figures and of course a barrage of earnings reports. Whether this will be enough to stem the avalanche of selling that has dominated the week so far remains to be seen. Investors have witnessed a tremendous reset in equities over the past few days, which for some is a harbinger of another sell-off like February and March (the rise in virus cases and the return of lockdowns providing support for this idea) but for others, particularly in the US, is merely a wave of pre-election jitters that might help set up equities for a bounce after the election, assuming that event goes smoothly. With a few days left until the election however, there are unlikely to be many bargain hunters out shopping this side of the weekend, which sets up the potential for another flush in stocks to provide just the right kind of market turmoil as a backdrop to this hotly-contested presidential election. There has been a slew of good company updates on the FTSE 100 this morning, although perhaps ‘less bad' is a better description for the Q3 figures from the likes of Lloyds, Shell and BT. Lloyds has reaped the benefit of its dominant position in the UK mortgage market, as UK householders took advantage of the record low rates to remortgage. For the embattled UK banking sector, the results are very good news, although with Brexit and a struggling economy to contend with the sector is unlikely to see much more upside in the near-term, which spells tough times ahead for the FTSE 100 given the sector's weighting in the index.

Ahead of the open, we expect the Dow to start at 26,681, up 162 points from last night's close.

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