European equity markets are driving higher this morning as the investor sentiment around the globe is running high. 

Traders will be waiting for the non-farm payrolls report from the US at lunchtime.   

Johnson Services issued a positive trading statement and it expects its full-year performance to be slightly ahead of the previous forecast. The company is continuing on the acquisition trail as it has bought out the StarCounty hotel for £3.9 million. The share price has been in a strong upward trend since 2012, and if the positive trend continues it could target 160p.  

Centrica shares are higher today after Credit Suisse upgraded the stock to ‘outperform’ from ‘neutral’. The Swiss bank also changed its rating on United Utilities from ‘underperform’ to ‘neutral’.

EUR/USD is weaker today as the greenback is firm ahead of the non-farm payrolls report. The stellar retail sales from Germany boosted the single currency temporarily, but the strength of the US dollar took over. Germany boosted retail sales of 4.4%, which smashed the expectations of 2.5%. The largest country is the eurozone is firing on all cylinders. Eurozone CPI rate fell to 1.4%, from 1.5% meeting expectations.

GBP/USD is slightly lower on the session as trader book their profits. The pound has had a positive run versus the US dollar recently, and seeing as it has been in a upward trend for over none months, it is likely to continue.  

At 1.30pm (UK time) the US will announce the non-farm payrolls report, and the consensus is for 190,000 jobs to have been added in December, which could be a decline from the 228,000 that were added in November. Economists are expecting the unemployment rate to remain at 4.1%. Average earnings are tipped to hold steady at 2.5%, on an annual basis.

We are expecting the Dow Jones to open up 63 points at 25,138, and we are calling the S&P 500 up 6 points at 2730.

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