European equity markets are mixed heading into the close. The FTSE 100 is a little lower, while the DAX has reached a six month high, and the CAC 40 hit its highest level since May 2018.

European equity markets are mixed heading into the close. The FTSE 100 is a little lower, while the DAX has reached a six month high, and the CAC 40 hit its highest level since May 2018. 

Europe

It was been a quiet session, and traders shrugged off the mixed PMI reports from the France and Germany, and the wider bullish move continued.    

Unilever announced a 1.6% drop in first-quarter sales to €12.4 billion, which topped analysts’ forecasts expectations of €12.3 billion. The disposal of the spreads business was responsible for the dip in sales. Prices ticked up by 1.9% while volumes edged higher by 1.2%, and that is a little concerning as a company can’t depend on higher price hikes forever. Well established markets like the Americans and Europe posted sales growth of 0.4% and 0.6% respectively, while emerging markets like Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe registered a 6% rise in sales.  

Rentokil shares have reached another all-time high this morning after the group revealed a solid first-quarter update. Revenue for the first three months jumped by 8.9%, but a sizeable portion of that was down to acquisitions, and the organics growth rate was 4%, which was an improvement on the 3.2% achieved in the previous years. 

Moneysupermarket revealed a 19% jump in first-quarter revenue. The home services division reported a 70% jump in revenue and the money department saw revenue increase by 9%.  The price cap in the energy market and the availability of attractive offers to switch providers helped the company. The group maintained its outlook for the year, and it pledged to return £40 million via a special dividend.

US

The major US markets have cooled a little as some of the slightly negative sentiment from yesterday has spilled over to today. Given the impressive run the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ 100 have enjoed recently, we might see some investors take money off the table ahead of the Easter break. Pinterest and Zoom will be in focus as both stocks will being trading in New York today.

The US posted economic indicators. The jobless rate came in at 192,000, which undershot the 205,000 forecast. The jobless rate is now at its lowest rate in a decades, which underlines the strength of the job market. The retail sales were impressive too, as the March report showed 1.6% growth, and the consensus estimate was 0.9%. The update that strips out auto sales grew by 1.2%, and highlights the robust demand.

American Express shares are a little higher today after the company announced respectable quarterly figures. Adjusted EPS were $2.01, which topped the $1.99 forecast. Revenue ticked up 7% $10.36 billion, but analysts were expecting $10.5 billion. The company maintained its full-year guidance and that lifted sentiment. 

FX

The US dollar index was given a boost by the mixed data from the eurozone, and the respectable numbers from the US added to the positive move. The US dollar hit its highest level in nearly two years, and that underlines the strength of the greenback.

EUR/USD is in the red today as mixed economic indicators from the eurozone and the weighed on the single currency. French manufacturing and services PMI reports came in at 49.6 and 50.5, respectively. The German manufacturing sectors is still in deep contraction territory, as the reading came in at 44.5, but on the bright side the services PMI report edged up to 55.6, from 55.4.

GBP/USD is lower on the session even though the UK reported solid retail sales figures. The March report showed 1.1% growth, and that was a big difference from the decline of 0.3% that economist were expecting. The March report was revised higher to 0.6% from 0.4%. The numbers were impressive, but there is speculation they were unusually high because of Brexit stockpiling. 

Commodities

Gold has dipped to its lowest level in over three months as the firmer US dollar has hurt the metal. The inverse relationship between gold and the greenback has been strong in recent years, and given that gold has been pushing lower for two months, we might see further losses.

Oil has pushed higher today as the broadly bullish move continues. Recently, the energy market hit its highest level since November, and that was driven by OPEC cuts, and sanctions being imposed on Iran and Venezuela, and today the wider bullish move is continuing.

CMC Markets is an execution-only service provider. The material (whether or not it states any opinions) is for general information purposes only, and does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment or other advice on which reliance should be placed. No opinion given in the material constitutes a recommendation by CMC Markets or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. The material has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research. Although we are not specifically prevented from dealing before providing this material, we do not seek to take advantage of the material prior to its dissemination.’