European equity markets are trading higher heading into the close as the figures released from China overnight were largely positive. 

Europe

China’s economy grew by 6.2% in the seconds-quarter, which was bang in line with forecasts. The retail sales, industrial production and fixed asset investment reports all exceeded forecasts, and showed improvement on their respective previous readings, so the various stimulus packages from Beijing are paying off.    

Sports Direct announced that it won’t be releasing its full-year figures until between 26 July and 23 August, and the group cited complication in regards to the integration of House of Fraser into the group as a reason for the delay. Sports Direct also cautioned about the ‘future trading performance’ of House of Fraser, and that spooked investors. The retailer wants to ensure that all the details are correct in certain areas of the business, which could ‘materially affect’ the guidance that was issued at the back end of last year. 

Antofagasta shares are higher this afternoon after the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes ruled that that the government of Pakistan woes it joint venture $5.84 billion, Tethyan Copper Company is owned by Antofagasta and Barrick Gold ,and the dispute with the government of Pakistan lasted for years ,and now World Bank have declared their ruling. Antofagasta made it clear they won’t include the funds in its accounts until it receives the payment.

Thomas Cook shares are in the red again after Sharesco claimed the travel company mislead shareholders about the health of the firm. Sharesoc represents small investors, and the organisation believes that Thomas Cook were ‘unduly optimistic’ when they released figures in February and May.       

US

Equity markets have retreated a little from their record levels as traders are a little nervous about earnings season, but given the reports from China, the sentiment is still positive. 

Symantec shares have slumped today after the takeover talks that were being carried out with Broadcom have ended. It was reported that Symantec won’t accept anything less than $28 a share. The fact that talks have ended suggests that the deal is dead in the water, but it is still possible that Broadcom might revise their offer. Broadcom shares are trading slightly higher this afternoon.

Citigroup shares are slightly higher today after the company reported respectable second-quarter figures. EPS jumped by 20% on an annual basis to $1.95, which topped the forecast was $1.80. Group revenue was edged up 2% to $18.76 billion and traders were expecting $18.5 billion.  The global consumer bank posted a 3% rise in revenue. The trading departments underperformed as did the investment banking unit.

It was a quiet day for economic indicators, but the New York Fed manufacturing reading was 4.3, while economists were expecting 2, and it was a major improvement on the 8.6 reading in June.

FX

Volatility has been low on the currency market today. EUR/USD is fractionally in the red on account of the rise in the US dollar, and GBP/USD has sold-off over concerns about the UK’s economy post Brexit. It was reported that Phillip Hammond, cautioned that it was ‘unrealistic’ to expect a trade deal with the US within a year, as they are complex.     

Commodities

Gold is a little lower today on account of the firmer US dollar. The inverse relationship between the greenback and the metal continues to be strong. Gold has been range bound in recent weeks, but while it holds above the $1,382 mark, the broader bullish trend should stay intact.

WTI and Brent Crude are largely unchanged on the day as the broadly positive Chinese data, along with the concerns about falling US stockpiles has propped up the energy market. Fixed asset investment and industrial production numbers from China bode well for the oil market. 

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