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US equity markets finished Thursday mostly lower, as delayed Fed-inspired strength from the Financial sector helped to offset weakness in interest sensitive Utility stocks and Healthcare as expectations that the Trump administration’s first budget may cut spending weigh. DuPont was the lead laggard on the Dow Jones as it closed marginally lower, while the S&P500 suffered from the weakness in Utilities. The Nasdaq, however, closed 0.01% higher to outperform its peers.

The US Dollar managed to halt it’s slide overnight, induced by the Federal Reserves lack of commitment to the next wave of interest rate hikes.

Accendo Markets Analyst, Henry Croft noted that – “the US dollar found a floor overnight following two days of Fed-inspired weakness further exacerbated by a hawkish Bank of England, applying the brakes to the commodity sector rally that took off after the central bank stuck to its guns regarding further rate hikes. This could, however, provide some upside for the UK’s FTSE 100 as its international contingent benefit from translational gains derived from GBP weakness.”

Having closed above 7400 for the first time in its history last night, the FTSE took a justified breather after the bell, starting the day relatively flat at yesterday’s highs.

Looking at the European markets, Spreadex Analyst, Connor Campbell noted – “Things were a bit more negative in the Eurozone, with a 0.2% drop for the CAC and half a percent slide from the DAX; crucially, however, both indices have kept above their 5000 and 12000 key levels respectively.

In focus today

With this week’s central bank updates and the Dutch election now resolved, there’s a multitude of high level political summits to focus on.

Accendo Markets Analyst, Henry Croft commented – “The US President Donald Trump is hosting the German President Angela Merkel, as the leader of the Eurozone’s engine room meets face to face with the outspoken US chief for the first time since he took office. In Europe, Theresa May will address the Conservative Spring Forum around midday – expect ‘Brexit means Brexit’ soundbites aplenty and potentially some remarks towards the SNP – while the G20 meeting of Finance Ministers in Baden-Baden will likely be headlined by US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s first appearance on the global stage (trade in focus?) and, of course, the looming challenge of Brexit.

Datawise, the Eurozone’s Visible Trade Balance is forecast to shrink slightly ahead of the UK’s official triggering of Article 50, while this afternoon, US Industrial Production is expected to bounce back once more to territory in February after January’s 5-month low and Manufacturing Production is expected to improve to equal December’s 10-month high. The University of Michigan Sentiment is expected to recover slightly after February’s pull back, while the Baker Hughes Rig Count will, as always, provide some indication of US crude oil production heading into the weekend.”

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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