Mining companies like BHP Billiton, Anglo American and Rio Tinto got off to a slightly positive start today after China revealed better than anticipated imports data overnight.

The second-largest economy in the world saw imports increase by 17.2% in October, while economists were expecting a rise of 16%. The September figure was revised lower to 18.6% from 18.7%. The negative revision, and the slowing growth rate is why commodity related stocks are only enjoying relatively small gains.

Shares in Marks and Spencer had a volatile start to the day after the retailer revealed a 2.6% rise in revenue and a 5.3% fall in profits. The food division has been the best performer at the company, but like-for-like sales slipped by 0.1% in the period. Steve Rowe, the CEO stated the food division is facing ‘stronger headwinds’ – this rattled traders as it projects an image of uncertainty for its star department. The stock is down 0.45%.

WTI and Brent Crude oil are still slightly off the high of the week, but remain in their bullish trend. OPEC are meeting later this month, and traders are concerned Saudi Arabia will look to extend the production cut. Rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran are also playing into the rising energy market.

At 3.30pm (UK time) the energy information administration (EIA) will report the US oil and gasoline inventory figures, and the consensus is for a drop of 2.9 million barrels, and a decline of 1.95 million barrels respectively.

EUR/USD is higher today and was helped along by the latest Spanish industrial production report, which saw an increase of 3.4% which was sizeable jump on the previous report of 1.8%.

GBP/USD is a touch lower on the day and trading is likely to remain subdued as neither the UK or the US are expected to reveal any important economic indicators.

We are expecting the Dow Jones to open 4 points lower at 23,553, and we are calling the S&P 500 down 1 point at 2589.

Blackrock Capital Investment will announce their third-quarter results today.  

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