The FTSE 100 has reached a fresh six month high, and the rally in the oil and gas sector has helped the London index. 

Europe

The DAX and CAC 40 were previously in the red, and they have turned positive on the day, as the feel good factor has spread across Europe. The rally in global stocks is showing no signs of slowing down, and lately, no news has been deemed to be good news.

Thomas Cook shares rallied today as there is chatter that a number of private equity firms are considering bidding for portions of the business, or even for the group as a whole. The company has endured tough times along with other firms in the travel sector, and in February, Thomas Cook announced it will carry out a strategic review of the airline division, and that was a clear indication the firm was considering an asset disposal. Since 2018, the stock has dropped in excess of 75%, so the current business model isn’t working, but a spinning off of non-core assets might assist the group.

Wirecard shares fell today after the German regulator’s lifted the short-selling ban on the company. In February, the financial markets regulator in Germany, banned the shorting of the stock after news reports claimed the payment provider carried out creative accounting and fraud – the German firm have rejected the allegations.

BP and Royal Dutch Shell have been given a boost this morning due to the underlying rally in the oil market. The Trump administration is seeking to put pressure on Iran, and it is aiming to drive down Iranian oil exports even further. On the other side of the coin, easyJet and Wizz Air shares are suffering due to the higher oil prices.

US

The NASDAQ 100 has hit another all-time high and the S&P 500 registered another 2019 high, in fact the S&P 500 reached a level not seen since early October. The bullish move in the US continues, and it is being partly fuelled by the reporting season.

Twitter shares rallied after the company revealed impressive quarterly figures. EPS came in at 37 cents, which smashed the 15 cents forecast. Revenue was $787 million, which topped the $776.1 million forecast. The number of monthly active users slipped by 6 million to 330 million, but it exceeded the 318 million consensus estimate. Social media firms are all about turning the experience in funds, and the quarterly average monetizable daily active users were 134 million, an increase of 11.66%.

Coca Cola shares are in demand after the group posted solid numbers. First-quarter EPS were 48 cents, topping the 46 cents forecast, and net sales increased by 5% to $8.02 billion ,and the consensus estimate was $7.88 billion. It is worth noting, the company issued a gloomy outlook in February, so the estimates might have been easy to exceed. 

Hasbro shares surged after the firm registered first-quarter net income of $26.7 million, which was a huge improvement on the loss of $112.5 million loss in the same period last.  Revenue edged higher by 2.3% to $732.5 million, comfortably topping the forecast of $662.9 million. 

The latest new home sales were solid. In March, 692,000 was recorded, which topped the 650,000 forecast, and was an improvement on the 667,000 from February. Today’s reading was the strongest in one year, and it offsets some of the softer housing data we have seen recently. 

FX

The US dollar index has pushed higher this afternoon, and the wider upward move that has been in place for 12 months is continuing. The positive move in the greenback has put hurt GBP/USD and EUR/USD.

Commodities

Gold is lower again as the firmer US dollar has hurt the metal. The inverse relationship between the markets has been strong recently. The commodity dropped to a level not seen for nearly four months, and if the bearish move continues it might target the $1,260 region.

Oil has extend its gains today after the news that the US intends to put additional pressure on Iran through the use of sanctions. The Trump administration had allowed eight countries to continue importing oil from Iran with punishment, but the Washington DC want to bring an end to that agreement, and that has lifted the oil market. 

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