Volatility has noticeably dropped off in this shortened Easter week, evidenced by the relatively benign reaction to yesterday’s atrocities in Belgium. Equities have built off the rebound from Tuesday’s lows and are modestly higher on Wednesday.

Credit Suisse is leading gains on the continent after announcing more cost cuts. M&A chatter is boosting demand for UK-listed technology shares after Apple confirmed talks with Imagination Technologies.

Investors were pulling funds out of safe havens on Wednesday as sentiment recovered the day after terror attacks struck Brussels with gold falling over 1% to a five-day low.

Technology shares were atop the UK stock market with Sage Group one of the top risers on the FTSE 100 after Apple confirmed it had been in talks to acquire Imagination Technologies, but had decided not to make an offer. The idea that Apple, the world’s most valuable company was sniffing around a UK tech company has sent investors into the sector in the hopes of some quick M&A-induced gains. 

Shares of Kingfisher, owner of DIY chain B&Q gained after beating forecasts with a 0.3% rise in annual profit in constant currencies and offering a confident outlook based on the success of its turnaround efforts. There was some initial disdain for Kingfisher’s turnaround plan but today’s results confirm the company has gotten a head start over its rival Homebase which will later be remodelled into Westfarmers.

Shares of Sports Direct steadied after the company issued a statement to clarify  its full-year earnings forecast after remarks from founder Mike Ashley in a newspaper report that prompted a 10% slide on Tuesday.

US markets look set for a modestly higher start ahead of a speech from FOMC member Bullard, which may confirm the trend over the past few days of more hawkish statements from Fed officials.


USA pre-opening levels

S&P 500: 2 points higher at 2,051

Dow Jones: 9 points higher at 17,591

Nasdaq 100: 3 points higher at 4,440


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