The FTSE 100 is broadly unchanged this morning as the gains in the consumer goods, oil and gas and mining companies are being counteracted by the heavy losses in health care stocks. 

The London market has been struggling to break out of the range between 7300 and 7500 recently, and today’s move sums of the mood lately. The largely uneventful update from the Federal Reserve last night has added to the lack of direction in European equities this morning.

AstraZeneca shares plummeted after the pharmaceutical company stated it encountered a serious setback in trials for Mystic – a therapy for lung cancer patients. The results of the study weren’t as good as hoped, and traders took this as the cue to dump the stock. We will have to wait until next year to see how the study is progressing. The share price is down 15% on the back of the announcement.

Lloyds shares are lower on the day after the bank posted a 4% jump in profits, but still fell short of expectations. £1 billion has been set aside for mainly payment protection insurance (PPI) provisions, but also for the mistreatment of mortgage customers. Investors have gotten used to the bank setting aside funds for PPI provisions, and at least profits are on the increase. The bank is far from perfect, but it is still moving in the right direction.

The EUR/USD is above $1.17 and the GBP/USD is north of $1.31 as the Federal Reserve weren’t exactly hawkish in their update last night. The US dollar declined after the announcement, but has regained some of its losses. The US central bank kept rates on hold, and stated they would begin reducing the size of their balance sheet ‘relatively soon’, but that is data dependent.

We are anticipating the Dow Jones to open 20 points higher at 21,731, and we are calling the S&P 500 up two at 2480.

At 1.30pm the US will announce initial jobless claims, and the consensus is for 241,000, and that compares with last week's reading of 233,000. The US will also reveal the durable goods report for June at the same time, and economists are expecting an increase of 3%, keep in mind the May report showed a decline of 1.1%.

Amazon and Intel will announce their second-quarter results today.

 

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