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Centrica lifted by positive outlook

European equities are a little on the soft side today as dealers book their profits. 

The major indices in Europe have enjoyed a positive run recently, in particular the FTSE 100, and it would seem the bulls are catching their breath. 

Centrica shares are higher today after the company confirmed it is on track to achieve its full-year target. The energy provider had its busiest week on record in terms of boiler repairs, due to the ‘beast from the east’. According to Centrica, customers are in a trend of ‘market switching’ and that is why the number of UK energy supply accounts fell by 110,000. The energy industry is competitive and Centrica is continuing its cost-cutting regime. All things considered, it was a solid trading update. The stock has been in a stable downward trend 2013, and a break below 123p might put 100p on the radar.

IWG announced it has been approached by three separate private equity companies for a possible takeover. Starwood Capital, TDR Capital and Lonestar are all keen in acquiring the company. Shares in IWG hit their highest level since October 2017 on the back of the news. With three companies expressing an interest in IWG, we could see a bidding war start. 

HSBC lowered its rating for Marks & Spencer from buy to hold, and cut its price target to 300p, from 400p. The share price of the retailer is down 1.2% at 288p.

The US dollar index has slipped again as traders are taking their profits on the greenback. The yield on the US 10-year government bond remains below 3%, which suggests traders aren’t overly hawkish. The EUR/USD and GBP/USD pairs are higher this morning as dealers take advantage of the relatively soft US dollar. Volatility is tipped to be low on the currency markets today as we are not expecting any major economic announcements from Europe or the US. 

We are expecting the Dow Jones to open up 109 points at 24,940 and we are calling the S&P 500 up 9 points at 2,736. 

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