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Antofagasta helps keep FTSE in positive territory

CMC Markets

Europe Despite some pretty dreadful January manufacturing and industrial production data from the UK this morning the FTSE100 has continued to push higher with basic resource stocks leading the gainers, helped by a strong performance from Chilean copper miner Antofagasta, and more or less confirming the irrelevance of the FTSE100 as a barometer of the health of the UK economy. Given the terrible PMI data seen earlier this year these figures shouldn't have been too much of a surprise and the likelihood is that they will make it all the more likely that monetary policy will get ever looser in the months to come. Antofagasta is one of the outperformers today after announcing a 10.9% increase in revenues despite a falling copper price, helped by record production levels. Doubling its dividend payout also helped reinforce the positive tone. Oil services company Petrofac is also higher despite a number of price target reductions from the analyst community in the last couple of days. The rebound appears to have been prompted by the awarding of a new project management contract in Mexico. British Airways owner IAG is also outperforming as speculation mounts the company is close to sealing a deal with Spanish unions about job losses at its loss making Iberia unit. The German DAX has underperformed with concerns about the German banking system acting as a drag on reports that Commerzbank is preparing a capital increase of between €700-€800m US US markets appear to be carrying on where they left off yesterday once again pushing higher as the S&P500 closes in on its all-time highs at $1,575 from 2007 as data showed that job openings rose in January. Company earnings also continued to show an improvement with Costco reporting Q2 profits rose 39%, showing an EPS number of $1.24c a share, well above the $1.06c consensus. KFC and Pizza Hut owner Yum Brands is also having a good day after its struggling Chinese operations reported a better than expected number for the year to date. FX The pound and the New Zealand dollar appear to be sharing the title for dogs of the day, both sliding lower, though for different reasons. The pound continues to get spanked out of sight after simply awful manufacturing and industrial production data for January. Just when you think things can't get any worse on the data front it does and next week's budget is likely to over promise and under deliver like most of those before it. Expectations had been for a slight improvement or a flat reading; however what we got was more a case of the trapdoor dropping open as manufacturing dropped 1.5%, and industrial production dropped 1.2%. Inflation expectations are also rising on the basis that the Bank of England will throw more money into the economy. The New Zealand dollar is slipping back on fears that the current drought could well impact economic growth in the coming months. The Australian dollar is amongst the better performers on speculation that of a good jobs report later this week. The single currency has slid back after comments from German finance minister Schaeuble that there can be no bailout deal for Cyprus without some form of bank restructuring.. Commodities US oil prices have ticked up on the improvement in the jobs outlook and the improvement in small business optimism closing the gap to Brent prices to its tightest in five weeks. The underperformance in Brent which has been long overdue appears to have been prompted by the latest OPEC production report which saw production rise to its highest levels since November last year. Gold prices have also ticked higher after this morning's disastrous UK data, hitting their highest levels this month as expectations of further easing measures underpins the yellow metal which has been the subject of speculation that we could see a significant sell-off on the coming weeks, as investors dump holdings at a record rate. 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.