Stock markets in Europe are relatively quiet today as Germany celebrates Reformation Day. 

Europe

When a major market is shut due to a public holiday, it not uncommon for trading activity to be a little subdued.

The cooling of tensions in relation to Catalonia has helped the IBEX 35 hit a level not seen since August. The Spanish market was hit hard in recent weeks, and now that some of the heat has been taken out of the situation, buyers have rushed in.

Ryanair shares are up 6.9% after the airline stated that first-half jumped 11%. The icing on the cake, was the announcement that the full-year profits forecast was kept unchanged. Time will keep if Ryanair damaged its reputation due the cancelled fiasco flights, but for now shareholders are holding onto the steady end-of-year guidance.

BP revealed that third-quarter profits were up 100%. The oil titan announced a $1.6 billion share buyback scheme, and that kept dealers happy. Oil and gas production jumped by 14%, and now that oil prices are at the highest in a while, we could see similar strong results in future updates.

US

The Dow Jones, S&P 500 and NASDAQ 100 are all in positive territory as earnings season in the US continues.

Pfizer shares are down slightly even though the company saw net income double and revenue tick up by 1%. Adding to that, it raised the mid-point of its full year earnings per share (EPS) forecast.

MasterCard registered third-quarter EPS of $1.34, which comfortably exceeded the $1.23 expected. Revenue for the period was $3.4 billion, while the market was anticipating $3.28 billion. The stock hit a new all-time high, and then turned lower.

The US revealed impressive economic indicators today. The Chicago PMI report came in at 66.2, and economists’ were expecting a reading of 61. The US Conference Board consumer confidence survey came in at 125.9, and the forecasts was for a reading of 121.   

FX

USD/CAD was jolted higher by the negative growth rate in the Canadian economy in August. The GDP reading was -0.1%, while economists were expecting a reading of 0.1%. The better than expected Chicago PMI and US Conference Board consumer confidence survey ensured the US dollar remained in demand.

GBP/USD ticked up after the EU’s negotiator Michel Barnier stated the dates for the next round of talks would be arranged in the ‘next few hours or days’. This gave sterling traders some optimism as it moves along the post-Brexit deal possibility. Adding to that, if Mr Barnier is making the first move, it could be suggested, the EU are keener than they are letting on that they want to reach an agreement soon.

EUR/USD is fractionally higher after the eurozone had mixed economic data. The region grew faster than expected in the third-quarter on a year-on-year basis, and the unemployment rate dropped. The inflation rate slipped to 1.4% from 1.5% in September. Weak inflation has been issue for the European Central Bank (ECB).  

Commodities

Gold is a little weaker today as the US economic indicators have been strong, in turn that perception about the Federal Reserve becoming more hawkish has increased.

Bitcoin futures began trading in Chicago today and the market got off to a strong start. Some investors view bitcoin as an alternative to gold, and the rally in it, has drawn funds away from gold.

WTI and Brent Crude oil are a touch higher today as traders are still concerned about the prospect of OPEC extending the production cut. The oil producing group has hinted at it recently, and we have seen Brent Crude oil reach a 29 month high and WTI is trading near a seven month high.

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