Gulliver goes from travails to travels

Gulliver goes from travails to travels

FTSE 100 Index called to open +10pts at 7257, off its overnight lows but still struggling under the weight of falling highs resistance since yesterday’s bearish reversal from Feb rebound highs. Bulls need a break above 7270. Bears may want to see another troubling of 7235 overnight lows before assuming more downside.  Bullish 7275, Bearish 7235


Calls for a positive open come in spite of a weak lead from Asia overnight where China remains on holiday for the Lunar New year (back Thursday), and with no lead from the US on account of yesterday’s Presidents’ Day holiday. FTSE helped by stronger USD and thus weaker GBP. However, note HSBC down in Hong Kong overnight (results missed), and Australia’s ASX dragged lower by Miners (strong USD keeping metals under pressure) and financials, which may impact the FTSE. especially given HSBC’s 7% weighting.


Corporate news this morning: HSBC FY revenues and profits grow, but Q4 misses expectations; dividend flat, no mention of extra buybacks, shares -1.75% in Hong Kong. BHP Billiton H1 underlying profits +25%, strongest half in 3 years thanks to copper and oil, debt -23%, dividend +37.5% beats consensus. InterContinental Hotels FY underlying revenues +5%, operating profit +8%, RevPAR +2.7%, dividend +11%, maintains positive outlook for 2018.


Melrose Industries FY revenues double, pre-tax loss narrows, div +47%appoints advisors for Ergotron sale.Temenos in advanced talks to buy Fidessa for £1.3bn (20%+ premium). Hikma appoints Sigurdur Olafsson CEO. Wood Group wins 5yr contract with Japan’s Inpex in Australia. Sports Direct starts buyback program worth up to £100M.


US equity markets were closed yesterday for Presidents’ Day, although are back with a bang today as Dow Jones components Home Depot (~11am) and Wal-Mart (~12pm) both report today.


Gold has broken below $1345 support overnight as the US dollar extends its recovery from 3-year lows. The precious metal, denominated in USD and subsequently more expensive as the dollar rises, has now fallen more than 1.5% from Friday’s highs. With an inkling of support available at $1337, traders will now be watching to see if the downtrend continues as equity market and USD recoveries continue.


Crude Oil benchmarks dropped overnight, however remain supported by rising lows since yesterday afternoon. A sharp overnight fall (at ~1am) saw late evening gains pared, however confidence that OPEC will agree to extend their production cut agreement are aiding sentiment. Brent Crude is off overnight lows of $65.3 but remains a distance from yesterday’s $66 high, while US crude is off overnight lows of $62.1 but remains under pressure shy of yesterday’s $62.7 highs.


In focus today will be ZEW  Surveys (10am) from Germany, with both the Current Situation and Expectations components forecast lower in February. That said the latter would be coming off the back of its best level since last May. No consensus for the Eurozone figure, but potential for it to build on last month’s bounce back towards May/Jun/July highs.


UK CBI Trends (11am) data is expected to suggest lower Industrial Orders in February, extending last month’s drop from the best since May 1998. However, with the Bank of England primed to hike, and inflation metrics in the limelight, the Selling Prices measure may prove of more interest. Eurozone Consumer Confidence (3pm) may also pull back from last month’s best since August 2000.


The Eurogroup meeting continues in Brussels today following yesterday’s confirmation that Spain’s Luis de Guindos will be the sole nomination for the ECB Vice President role. Today’s agenda will include a review of Greek financial assistance/debt restructuring after the country met previous reform targets.

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