As often happens on a Friday, early indications are for a relatively steady and subdued day’s trading on the stock market. Investors will be encouraged by a positive lead from US markets last night. Now well into the quarterly profit reporting season, confidence in market valuations is being supported by the fact that 76% of the 212 S&P500 companies to have reported so far have beaten average expectations. Despite the positive US lead, this could be one of those days when our market is kept relatively subdued by some short term profit taking. With not a lot of major data releases on the immediate and with the market 5% above the lows of 2 ½ weeks ago, short term traders will be thinking in terms of squaring the books. Markets will have a watching brief on China’s short term money market rates today after another increase to 4.79% in the 7 day repo rate. A significant push above these levels might begin to concern markets that authorities feel the need to risk dampening overall economic growth in order to address specific problems in the property and shadow banking sectors. Currency and gold markets are continuing to adjust to the likelihood that US monetary stimulus will continue at full pace for at least 5 months longer than was generally forecast a couple of months ago. Another 1.2% rally in the gold price last night should see gold stocks supported on the local exchange today.

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