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Today's Markets: FTSE eases back from post-pandemic high

The FTSE 100 reaches a post-pandemic high, and updates on Rivian, AstraZeneca, Avon Protection and Wood Group
Today's Markets: FTSE eases back from post-pandemic high
  • FTSE 100 hits its highest level in 20 months
  • Rivian continues fast start
  • Avon Protection puts body armour business under review after test fail

Markets

Mixed start for stocks following a solid performance in the prior session and a mixed one in the US. After a slow start European stock markets - the Stoxx 600 and DAX - eked out fresh records Thursday and the FTSE 100 managed to hit its highest level in 20 months. In the US, the Nasdaq and S&P 500 rose but the Dow was dragged into the red by Disney (DIS). This morning, the FTSE 100 is down 0.3 per cent and the rest of the major bourses are trading a little firmer. No sign yet of any major drawdown or volatility, but it seems too quiet.

Inflation is front of mind for investors this week after the US CPI report, which has driven a sharp rally in gold and the US dollar. Today’s University of Michigan inflation expectations will be closely watched, although it is unlikely to drive any material shift in the post-CPI momentum. Expectations are forecast to rise to 5 per cent from 4.8 per cent last month. We’re also watching the UoM consumer sentiment data and JOLTS job openings – a marker for the health of the US labour market, although these days not such a great signal due to the massive mis-matches and dislocation in the market post-pandemic.

Gold has pulled back from a 5-month high hit in the wake of the inflation data, holding around $1,855 in early trade. USD is solid to start the session with DXY consolidating above 95. Oil fell with spot WTI at $80 amid a resurgent US dollar and uncertainty over the path of US policy in terms of addressing higher gasoline prices. Higher case rates in Europe and Asia may also weigh - Austria heading to full medical apartheid with a lockdown for the unvaccinated. 

Neil Wilson is the Chief Market Analyst for markets.com