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The FTSE was relatively unmoved in early trading this morning following a positive Asian session and a mixed close on Wall Street.

UK blue-chip announcements this morning include Aviva selling its Friends Provident brand for up to £340m after a strategic review to focus on fewer markets, Reckitt Benckiser selling its food business for $4.2bn to US McCormick & Co while BHP Billiton sees next years full year iron ore output up 3%-5% after this years production was at the lower end of expectations and copper was hit by strikes.

The euro traded lower overnight partly due to yesterday’s disappointing ZEW Survey. However, Investor sentiment still appears to remain positive. ADS Securities Analyst, Konstantinos Anthis commented “The bearish printing of the economic sentiment report reflects economists’ concerns over Germany’s outlook: with the federal elections just a couple of months away and the single currency going from strength to strength – which is not that positive for an exports-based economy – there are a few doubts over the prosperity of Europe’s strongest economy.”

“That being said though, the euro should trade with a positive bias towards tomorrow’s ECB event as Mario Draghi is expected to hint towards reducing stimulus in the new few months.” he added.

Over in the US, equity markets finished mixed yesterday as corporate earnings resulted in contrasting performances between the major indices.

Accendo Markets Analyst, Mike van Dulken noted “The Nasdaq outperformed, closing at a record high while notching its longest winning streak since 2015 as Netflix rallied 13% to a fresh all-time high.”

“The S&P500 also notched a record closing high, albeit by only 1.5 points, while a disappointing earnings report from Goldman Sachs weighed on the Dow Jones as it closed lower.”

With US earnings season now fully underway, results expected later include Dow components American Express, banking major Morgan Stanley and former curtain-raising aluminium giant Alcoa. Mike van Dulken added “Also of note are Reynolds American (sector peer for FTSE-listed British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands), Qualcomm and T-Mobile US.”

Please note this article does not constitute investment advice. Investors are encouraged to do their own research beforehand or consult a professional advisor.

Michael Morton

Michael Morton

Michael has worked within the Financial Industry for more than 20 years. Starting out as a financial analyst, he has extensive experience working with fund management groups and brokerages.

With an interest in Stocks and Shares, Funds, ETFs and Commodities, his investment focus is medium to long term gains, with the objective of financial security on retirement, and building wealth for his young children for their adult life. His broker of choice is Hargreaves Lansdown.

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