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Trade fears slide and stocks rise, Serco lowers revenue forecast

Stock markets in Europe are taking their cues from the positive session in Asia overnight. 

Some of the fears regarding a possible trade war have slipped away and investors are snapping up relatively cheap equities. Beijing and Washington DC are still at loggerheads, bur the situation has cooled recently, and this has enticed fresh buying.

Serco shares are in the red after the company trimmed the full-year revenue outlook, but left its profit guidance unchanged. The outsourcing company now anticipate annual revenue to be between £2.7 billion and £2.8 billion, and that compares with the previous guidance of between £2.8 billion and £2.9 billion. The firm still expects to make a profit of £80 million. Serco began a turnaround plan five years ago, which is now showing signs of working, but it confirmed that market conditions in the UK are ‘less than ‘ideal’. The stock has been in decline since February 2017, and if the bearish move continues it could target 90p.

BAE Systems was awarded a £20 billion contract by the Australian government. The British defence company saw off competition from Spanish and Italian rivals for the contract. BAE Systems are tasked with building nine new navy frigates. The share price is up on the back of the news.

Micro Focus shares are higher this morning after Goldman Sachs listed the company on its potential mergers and acquisitions list. The positive move in the stock has lifted the technology sector.

GBP/USD jumped on the back of the positive UK GDP numbers. On a quarterly basis, UK GDP grew by 0.2% in the first quarter, which topped the 0.1% forecast. The mortgage approvals and mortgage lending reports came in higher than expected too, and this also helped the pound.

EUR/USD is firmer after the inflation rate in the eurozone ticked up to 2% in June, meeting economists’ expectations. The core CPI rate slipped from 1.1% in May to 1% in June, and this suggests that demand isn’t as strong as initially thought.

At 1.30pm (UK time) the US will announce the core PCE report for May, and the consensus estimate is for a reading of 1.9%, which would be an improvement on April’s 1.8%.

Nike shares will be in focus after the firm announced fourth-quarter figures last night. Nike’s earnings per share and revenue topped analysts’ forecasts.

We are expecting the Dow Jones to open up 174 points at 24,390 and we are calling the S&P 500 up 15 points at 2,731.

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