In a continuation of the theme for the week, European stocks have remained broadly flat ahead of today’s FED minutes, with caution prevailing amongst bulls seeking clarity on the taper timeline. You would be excused for taking an early Christmas if your long stocks given the huge returns already accrued from benchmarks year to date, but although bullish exuberance has clearly softened in the run up to these minutes, don’t think they won’t hop back on the bandwagon if the release takes a dovish tone, hoping to ride the Fed Express to the last stop…….or as close as they dare. On the undercard today is also US retail sales and housing data, with no huge surprises expected, before a warm up speech from St.Louis Fed’s James Bullard in Chicago. As the FCA probe into FX markets continues, more information has emerged about the culture of front running in the city, with big client orders disclosed to day trading contacts of of the city who would profit from the information and return the favour in the form of a brown goody bag of notes. Claims that it is almost impossible for banks to fully regulate it seem worryingly accurate given the abundance of communication methods and wide scale use of untracked instant messaging systems. In a morning low on company releases or big moves, Telecom plus stand relatively unchallenged on grabbing the headlines with two fresh bites of info for investors. First was a healthy 10% rise in H1 pre-tax profits and interim dividend hike of 23%, and second was to announce the purchase of 2 energy supply units of RWE Npower in an attempt to improve energy margins. All in all that equated to a near 13% bump on the open, strong stuff. GSK are set to sell around a third of its stake in South African firm Aspen Pharmacare for approximately £450m. The firm also noted that they will maintain a board seat and that net profits accrued from the sale would not be included in 2013 operating profit numbers. CMC Markets is an execution only service provider. 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.