European equity markets are back in full swing today after many of the continental exchanges were closed yesterday for May Day. 

The DAX is making up for lost ground and is the best performer of the major markets in Europe. President Trump’s decision to hold off on making a decision about imposing tariffs on EU steel and aluminium until next month is lifting investor sentiment.

Standard Chartered shares have been hit by profit-taking after the bank announced a strong start to the year. First-quarter pre-tax profit jumped by 20% to $1.26 billion, while analysts were expecting $1.21 billion. Impairments on loans fell by 29% on the previous quarter and loan demand was higher. The bank is continuing to cut costs and it is comfortably on track to achieve its target. The stock hit its highest level since mid-March this morning, and then sold off as profit-taking set in. The share price rallied for the past month in anticipation of good figures today, and if the wider positive trend continues it could target 800p.

Ryanair stated the number of passengers increased by 9% on an annual basis, and the load factor remained unchanged at 96%. The low-cost airline has made a big effort to improve its customer service levels, and the ‘always getting better’ initiative is still be implemented. The stock is up 0.8% today.

GBP/USD is higher today after the UK construction sector bounced back in April. The March reading showed a contraction, which was attributed to the collapse of Carillion earlier this year. The April construction PMI report came in at 52.5, beating economists’ expectations for a reading of 50.5.

EUR/USD is largely unchanged after major eurozone countries announced mixed manufacturing PMI reports. The German report came in at 58.1, meeting expectations though slightly below the March figure of 58.2. Spain and Italy missed estimates however, showing a cooling of growth on the month.

At 7pm (UK time) the Federal Reserve announces the latest US interest-rate decision. Traders are expecting the rate to remain unchanged at 1.75%, but will be listening for clues about future monetary policy. The US central bank may lay the foundation for a rate hike next month.

We are expecting the Dow Jones to open up 51 points at 24,151 and we are calling the S&P 500 up 4 points at 2659.

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