Markets were backtracking on Thursday after two high-profile warnings about the future of the European economy from the ECB’s Mario Draghi and renowned investor George Soros. Mario Draghi warned of lasting damage without structural reforms whilst George Soros warned that a Brexit vote would cause the dissolution of the European Union. Neither Draghi nor Soros believe in imminent disaster but the comments are a sober reminder of the risks to health of the European economy.

A retreat in oil prices from a fresh 2016 peak is detrimental to overall market sentiment. A push higher in the euro in spite of the implementation of the ECB’s latest round of monetary easing is a dampening force for shares on the continent.

The oil price is proving to be the dominant factor for the UK’s listed mining shares with investors dismissing a moderation of deflation at the factory gate in China and Glencore successfully offloading more of its agricultural division.

Housebuilders Taylor Wimpey and Berkeley Group were amongst top fallers after a warning from surveyors that house prices are set to see their first decline since 2012. RICS House price balance index fell to 19% from 39% previously. The fallout came despite homebuilder Bellway revealing house price completions for the year are expected to rise by at least 10% thanks to rising demand.

The British pound slipped back on Thursday despite data showing a lower trade deficit in April and high profile MP defection in the Brexit debate from the Leave to the Remain campaign.

US stocks look set for a lower open the day following the first close above 18,000 for the Dow Jones Industrial Average since April.

USA pre-opening levels

S&P 500: 8 points lower at 2,111

Dow Jones: 46 points higher/lower at 17,959

Nasdaq 100: 13 points higher/lower at 4,505


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