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North Korean tensions puts pressure on stocks

Stock markets in Europe are lower today as tensions between the US and North Korea are still simmering away in the background.

The two nations are locked in a stalemate, and this week we will see the US and South Korea engage in their 10-day military exercises. The annual exercise always angers the North Korean regime, this time the stakes are higher given the current environment.

The FTSE 100 is trading at the lower end of the range it has been in for the past few months, while the CAC 40 and the DAX have been in decline since May and June respectively.

The Peoples’ Bank of China (PBoC) pumped in 50 billion yuan into the country’s financial system today, and this has given a boost to base metals. The increased liquidity is seen as a positive force for the Chinese economy, which is a major consumer of minerals. The higher metals prices has helped the share price of Rio Tinto, Antofagasta, BHP Billiton and Glencore.  

Shares in Rathbone Brothers are higher on the day as it is in merger talks with Smith & Williamson. Given the tighter regulation within financial services, mergers can offer a way forward for companies like Rathbone Brother and Smith & Williamson as synergies and cost cutting can be introduced. If the merger goes ahead, the business would have assets under management (AuM) of £56 billion. The stock price of Rathbone Brothers has been in a solid upward trend since July 2016, and it is very close to the record high of £28.40.   

There hasn’t been much movement in the EUR/USD or the GBP/USD today as there is little in the way of economic indicators out today.  

The Jackson Hole Symposium starts Thursday, and it will be the highlight of the week as far as the currency markets are concerned.

We are anticipating the Dow Jones to open 4 points lower at 21,670, and we are calling the S&P 500 down 2 at 2423.

At 1.30pm the US will announce the US Chicago Fed national activity index, and the consensus is for a reading of 0.13.  

Zayo Group Holdings will report their fourth-quarter numbers today.

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