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Stocks mixed as quiet start to the week

Stock markets in Europe are mixed this morning as a lack of a major macro-economic news has left some traders uninspired.

Chinse markets were closed over night as the country celebrated Spring Festival, and the US and Canadian stock markets will be closed today as they celebrate Presidents Day and Family Day respectively. When a number of major players on the markets are closed due to holidays, it is common to see low volatility on those exchanges that are open.  

Reckitt Benckiser’s shares are in the red this morning after the company revealed a 2% rise in fourth-quarter total revenue, slightly below the consensus of 2.1% growth. Stripping out the sales from Mead Johnson, a company it acquired, revenue growth was flat. Rakesh Kapoor, the CEO, predicted that like-for-like sales this year will grow by 2 – 3%. In other good news, the company stated it now expects the saving from the Mead Johnson buyout to be $300 million, and the previous forecast was $250 million. The stock is down 5.6% today and hit a two year low, and if the negative move continues it could target 6000p.

According to Rightmove, average house prices in the UK ticked up by 0.8% in February, and that was an improvement on January’s rise of 0.7%. It is worth not the average monthly rise over the past decade has been 1.6%, so the increments aren’t too hot. Rightmove stated that London property boom is over, and stocks like Berkeley Group, Bellway and Persimmon are lower on the day.

At 6.45pm (UK time) Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England will give a speech in Regents University. Traders will be playing close attention to this update as the latest BoE update was a touch on the hawkish side. The possibility of an interest rate from the UK central bank in May is growing, and dealers will be looking for clues from Mr Carney.   

The US dollar index is largely unchanged this morning and in turn there hasn’t been movement on EUR/USD and GBP/USD. There are no major economic announcements from the eurozone or UK today, so market swings may be small.

The New York Stock Exchange is closed today as the US celebrates Presidents Day.

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