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The FTSE is up 11 points this Thursday morning to fresh high’s on the back of a weaker Pound, which is being held back despite yesterday’s positive UK manufacturing data.

FxPro analyst, Edward Anderson suggests that it is indeed the weaker Pound that has helped boost manufacturing output, “The continued in weakness in GBP has resulted in the strongest growth in UK manufacturing for 6+ years. However, the UK still lags behind its peers and concerns over trade once the UK exits the EU will likely hamper increased UK growth.”

It was the Retail sector that prevented the FTSE pushing higher, despite Sterling’s weakness, on trading updates from Tesco and Marks and Spencer. Both retailers reported updates in line with expectations with no change to their full year forecasts. As a result, Tesco shares were down 3% and Marks and Spencer 4% this morning.

The timing of these companies’ announcements couldn’t come at a more telling time” suggested Accendo Markets analyst, Henry Croft, “coming against the backdrop of a stellar period for German discounters, as per Kantar data earlier in the week, and outstanding performances from fashion retailers…as companies both young (Boohoo) and old (Ted Baker) see bumper demand…The ballad of British grocers goes on, but for how much longer?”.

Over in the US, the major indices closed lower across the board for the first time in 2018 on reports that China was reviewing its policy of buying US treasuries.

CMC Markets analyst, Michael Hewson commented “With concerns starting to rise about an [increase] in inflation due to the recent strength in oil prices it is understandable that bond markets might be nervous if a normally large buyer of US treasuries either stops buying them or even starts to sell large amounts.”

On the equity markets, Accendo Markets analyst, Mike van Dulken noted “…the S&P 500 and Nasdaq snapping a 6-day win streak to notch their first losing sessions of the new year.”

“Utilities and Real Estate proved a weight on the former, while the Tech-focused Nasdaq underperformed. The Dow Jones finished closest to break even as losses for UnitedHealth overpowered yet more Boeing strength.” he added.

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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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