This morning’s headlines are largely dedicated to Apple’s after-market earnings miss that saw the stock trade lower by as much as 10% in out-of-hours trade. Apple bulls will be licking their wounds this morning before making a difficult decision as to whether the fall is an over-reaction, or represents the next stage of a down trend that has been in place since September of last year. On a valuation basis the stock trades at less than half the average P.E of the rest of the Nasdaq, but concern over their diminishing market share and the likely squeeze on margins in 2013 appear to be taking precedent in traders’ calculations. UK tech stocks ARM and Imagination Technologies felt some read-across pain, marked lower at the open. With the market already trading nervously this morning in the wake of Apple’s numbers, Flash PMI data from France added strength to the bear case as numbers arrived below analyst expectations. Weakness in the single currency and in risk assets was short-lived however, as the corresponding German number delivered a huge beat, with the overall Eurozone number also coming in ahead of expectations. On a less positive note, Spanish unemployment continues to provide a stark reminder of the human cost of austerity and diminishing growth. A headline unemployment rate of 26% draws serious questions about the sustainability of any medium-term recovery, whilst youth unemployment of 60% makes for depressing reading. This week’s roller-coaster ride in oil stock Afren continues as they are marked lower today after rising sharply on noticeably higher volume yesterday as M&A whispers swept the market. After their impressive update earlier in the week, speculation that they could become a target for one of the majors has pushed the stock higher, though with no news in the market appetite has cooled this morning. Heading in the opposite direction are budget airliner Easyjet, who reported a 9.2% jump in revenues to £833m for the last quarter, as they garnered higher revenue per seat as well as increasing passenger numbers, boosting the share price in early trade. Inter-dealers ICAP are the latest firm to find themselves at the centre of the LIBOR-rigging scandal today, and investors have been heading for the exits with the huge fines imposed on UBS and others fresh in the memory. Jobless Claims data out of the US at 13.30 marks the highlight of the afternoon macro calendar, with Crude Inventories at 16.00 to follow. Another busy day in the earnings diary sees updates from – amongst others – AT&T, Microsoft, Starbucks and Xerox. CMC Markets clients remain net short of the indices, though selective buying of the banks and miners suggests they still see some value on a micro level. 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