Europe European markets had been pretty becalmed until the last hour of trading today when news hit the wires that the Cyprus finance minister Sarris submitted his resignation to the President who swiftly rejected it. Markets turned sharply negative on this news as once again events in Cyprus highlight the extreme nervousness of investors. The mood wasn't improved by the news that the Cyprus ruling party announced that they would be abstaining from the vote on the latest bailout package, imperilling the likelihood that the package would be passed. This political turmoil and parliamentary impasse now raises the real risk that EU policymakers may be faced with a very real decision as to whether they need to consider pushing Cyprus out of the euro area, and as such run the risk of a contagion effect across the region. It would seem a very high price to pay for the sake of an amount of €5bn. Time will tell as to how these events will unfold but for now markets are reacting by reflex and piling into safety trades. On the downside the mining sector has taken a hit after Goldman Sachs downgraded their iron ore price forecasts over the next three years to $80 a ton from levels currently. At the same time they put Rio Tinto on their conviction sell list, with 15% potential downside. BHP Billiton wasn't spared the axe either with a downgrade from buy to neutral. Other broker downgrades on Fresnillo and Kazakhmys also hit the sector, on fears about the effects of declining copper prices. ARM Holdings is also down sharply today after its CEO Warren East announced he would be stepping down after nearly 12 years at the company. On the plus side supermarket giant Sainsbury's has taken full advantage of not becoming embroiled in the horse meat scandal in its latest Q4 trading update. Increased transaction volumes as a result of Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and its Comic Relief promotions have undoubtedly helped in this regard. Defensive stocks are also outperforming today with utilities sector leading the gainers, Severn Trent, United Utilities and Centrica all higher. US US markets opened higher buoyed by an improvement in February housing starts data. Gains were limited though given that the rise in starts missed expectations. February numbers rose 0.8%, while the decline of 8.5% in January was revised lower to a 7.3% decline. Building permits beat expectations coming in with a rise of 4.6%, above expectations of a 2.3% rise. The news out of Cyprus in the afternoon has capped the gains as stocks swung between gains and losses. FX Currency markets have remained fairly subdued today though the Norwegian Krone has dropped sharply after the Norges Bank adjusted its interest rate projections for the year diminishing the prospects of a rate rise anytime soon. The euro had initially had a rather range bound day rising on the better than expected German ZEW data but still being buffeted by the tailwinds spinning out of Cyprus as news that Sarris, the Cypriot finance minister had resigned. The resultant fall has taken us to the lowest levels this year and to the 200 day MA support. The Japanese yen has been one of the major gainers along with the pound as investors flock back to safe haven destinations from the turmoil currently unfolding in Europe. Commodities Gold has continued to push higher as investors continue to play the safe haven trade holding above the $1,600 level and pushing up towards two week highs. 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.