Europe After starting the day on the front foot equities built on their early gains to secure strong closing levels as bears scampered for the exits in afternoon trade. As they cling by their fingernails to their FTSE 100 status, Oil & Gas services provider John Wood Group closed almost 8% higher after announcing better-than-expected numbers for 2012 and guiding positively for this year. Also hoping to avoid the chop in this week’s index re-shuffle are outsources Serco, who did no harm to their cause with a 9% rally after similarly impressive earnings. In Germany, consumer giant Henkel geared up for tomorrow’s morning earnings announcement with another green day, as the stock continues to make fresh highs despite the difficult retail outlook on the continent. US With the threat of slowing QE seemingly reduced in light of fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen’s comments yesterday, traders have used the momentum to carry equity markets to new highs. Headlines will be stolen by the Dow smashing its way through 14,200 to secure an all-time high print, but such is the broad-based nature of the rally in risk assets that everything has been carried along for the ride. There is plenty of chatter from bearish analysts surrounding the disparity in the quality of macro-economic data and stock market valuations at present, but traders should be mindful that these same arguments applied 6 months ago, and that there is no shortage of cash still sat on the sindlines that may be forced to go to work should the rally continue medium term… FX While all the talk is about currency manipulation and countries ‘helping’ to weaken their currencies we see the Swedish Krona today rise to its strongest level against the Euro since September as their policy makers state they won’t step in to stem the currency’s recent surge in strength. This was further helped by a positive consumer confidence figure, the second in a row, as indications show Sweden may be managing better than most in the current economic environment. The greenback found support as the publication of the US ISM non-manufacturing PMI came in better than was forecast. Although USD/CHF returned to highs of the day as the figures were released, it seems investors already have an eye on key central bank meetings later in the week and have hence remained cautious in their trades. CommoditiesOil futures bounced off their 2013 lows, dragged higher by today’s global equity rally and reports of further monetary stimulus. The European Brent benchmark was the better performer, kicking out the Brent/Nymex differential after a Brent pipeline system remained shut down following a platform leak first discovered on March 3rd. The system in question accounts for around 90k barrels a day of UK’s oil production. Gold prices surged the most in a week on central bank stimulus headlines. With members of both the Fed and BOJ reaffirming dovish stances, the yellow metal climbed before shedding a portion of the gains around the opening bell in the US, as the focus shifted to the unravelling equity story. There has also been vague stories of an increase in physical demand during the session, but without any specifics it will be shrugged by some as conjecture. 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