FTSE 100 set for a spot of quiet consolidation


After a record-breaking week for some stock market indices, among them the FTSE 250, a pause for breath seems in order.

Spread betting quotes indicate the FTSE 100 will open just 4 points to the good at 6,946.

“European markets look set to open in positive territory this morning, as they look to continue where they left off yesterday after US markets finished higher with another record close for the S&P500, as it got to within a whisker of 4,100, led predominantly by the tech sector,” said CMC’s Michael Hewson.

“Asia markets ended the week on a more mixed note with the latest China inflation data pointing to a decent rebound in March. Factory gate prices, in particular, were strong rising 4.4% on an annualised basis, compared to 1.7% in February, as economic activity picked up at the end of Q1. As a forward indicator this could well be an arbiter of rising prices rippling out into the global economy as we head into Q2,” he added.

Jeffrey Halley at OANDA said the Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome Powell, stayed “solidly on message” overnight, once again emphasising the “Fed’s priority in assisting the US employment recovery while dismissing inflation concerns as transitory”.

The comments came after the Dow Jones index had climbed 57 points to close at 33,504 and the S&P 500 had risen 17 points to finish at 4,097.

In Japan this morning, the Nikkei 225 has advanced 204 points to 29,913 but in Hong Kong the Hang Seng index is down 212 points at 28,796, after the US sent seven Chinese supercomputing firms to the naughty step with an export ban.

Looking at today’s agenda, you’d have thought that in a shortened week (because of Easter) there would be some company results scheduled, even on what is traditionally a quiet day of the week for corporate announcements, but you’d be wrong.

It’s too soon after the end of the quarter and too long after the end of the year. There are sure to be some announcements but the usual sources have not been given notice of what they are.

That leaves the Halifax house price index as the major “known unknown”, as Donald Rumsfeld might put it. The March index is expected to rise 0.2% from February’s level after falling 0.1% in February.

On the face of it, that looks like a rebound but the annual increase in the index is expected to retreat to 5.1% from February’s 5.2%.

n the US, the March producer price index is expected to a 0.4% increase, which represents a slight slowdown from February’s 0.5%.

US wholesale inventories, which on a normal day would be far down the bill below the sword swallowers and contortionists, might also garner some attention from insomniac traders.

Economists are expecting a 0.5% advance for February, following February’s 1.3% gain.

Around the markets

  • Sterling: US$1.3726, down 0.1 cents
  • 10-year gilt: 0.751%, down 2.63 bps
  • Gold: US$1,752.60 an ounce, down US$5.60
  • Brent crude: US$63.18 a barrel, down 2 cents
  • Bitcoin: US$58,216, up US$534

6.50am: Early Markets – Asia / Australia

Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mostly lower on Friday even as the S&P 500 in the US surged to yet another record closing high overnight.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong slipped 0.88% while the Shanghai Composite in China fell 0.78%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.54% but South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.28%.

Shares in Australia were weaker, with the S&P/ASX 200 trading 0.20% lower.

Proactive Australia news:

Australian Potash Ltd (ASX:APC) hit a new record high after ongoing work at its 100%-owned Laverton Downs Project (LDP) returned compelling targets with Kambalda-style massive nickel sulphide potential.

Jindalee Resources Ltd (ASX:JRL) has skyrocketed after confirming that the upgraded resource estimate of 10.1 million tonnes at McDermitt Project on the Oregon-Nevada border is the USA’s largest lithium deposit by contained lithium.

Kazia Therapeutics Ltd (ASX:KZA) (NASDAQ:KZIA) (FRA:NV9) will share new data from its ongoing phase II study of paxalisib in glioblastoma in a poster presentation at the prestigious American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting being held virtually from April 10-15 and from May 17-21, 2021.

Latin Resources Ltd (ASX:LRS) (FRA:XL5) ongoing test results from the Noombenberry Project in Western Australia are showing some of the highest grade halloysite and kaolin assays in Australia, including a 41% halloysite assay.

Australian Strategic Materials Ltd (ASX:ASM) (OTCMKTS:ASMMF) has received a strong endorsement of its integrated metals production strategy centred on rare earths by attracting two new substantial shareholders.

Chase Mining Ltd (ASX:CML) executive chairman Dr Leon Pretorius, non-executive director Julian Atkinson and non-executive director Charles Thomas have shown support for the company’s exploration strategy by participating in a share placement.



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