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Ocado sales obstructed by snow

Stock markets are mixed this morning as traders remain cautious of the geopolitical environment.

Investors are on edge amid the backdrop of a potential trade war, and the heightened tensions surrounding Russia. The scandal surrounding Facebook in relation to Cambridge Analytica has dented the tech sector as a whole, and the longer the story looms, the more pressure is likely to be applied to the industry.

Ocado continues to expand its business, with the first-quarter figures an improvement on the same period last year, but the adverse weather resulted in a softer set of figures compared with the end of last year. On a year-on-year basis the company reported a 12% rise in revenue, but when compared with the last quarter, it was a decline of 3%. From an operational point of view, the company is performing well with its warehouses at ‘maximum capacity’, and the facility at Erith is ‘on track’ to open this year. Progress is also bring made on the overseas ventures in France and Canada. The stock is down 1.3%. 

Shares in BHP Billiton are up 0.4% at 1397p after Exane BNP Paribas upgraded the stock to outperform from neutral and raised the price target by 1% to 1505p.

GBP/USD slipped after UK inflation fell to 2.7% in February, down from 3%, against the consensus estimate for 2.8%. The core inflation figures, which is a better gauge of British demand, rose to 2.4% from 2.2%. The firmer core data has seemed to cushion the blow of the softer headline figure.

EUR/USD sold-off after the German ZEW economic sentiment report fell to 5.1 – an 18 month low.

We are expecting the Dow Jones to open up 20 points at 24,630 and we are calling the S&P 500 up 6 points at 2718.

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