Markets are in buoyant mood this morning ahead of today’s non-farm payrolls, with European markets a sea of green as we await the first number since the Fed’s $10bln taper last month. The forecast is 191k but the consensus this morning seems to have pushed north of 200k, which should be enough to convince investors that the Fed didn’t pull the trigger to early. One interesting scenario will be a big beat of adjusted expectations, which would be a good indicator of whether we have broken free of second guessing what that means to the speed of any taper, leaving us to finally read a good figure in isolation. In the UK, Manufacturing data spoiled the party somewhat, with a flat November and downward revision for October eating into the mornings’ gains for the FTSE. After a busy day for single stocks yesterday, company’s seem to have cleared the stage for the payroll data this afternoon, leaving us with very little to report on the open. UK retail sales slowed in December according to an industry report, with a 1.8% increase falling behind the annual mark of 2.3% posted in November. This softens the blow a little for a few of the retailers who had sighted tough conditions over Christmas, certainly making it sound less of an excuse for a deeper issue. Both Morrisons and Marks and Spencers were strong on the open. A surge in Chinese imports has provided a welcome boost for the miners this morning, who trade higher despite the news of a whopping $1.7bln impairment for Aluminium giant Alcoa, reported just after the closing bell yesterday. The import data gives China the mantle of the world’s biggest trader of goods and helps to dampen concerns over the outlook for growth amid key economic reform. CFO David Surtees will step down from his post at Perform group following a profit warning in December that sent the stock price tumbling. The opportunity for a clean slate sees the stock buoyant in early trade, with shareholders clearly seeing the change as a step in the right direction. JD sports remain on track to hit full year forecasts after a bumper Christmas, with like for like sales for the 48 weeks to Jan 4th slightly ahead of previous guidance of 5.8%. The news is clearly little surprise to investors who have pushed the stock up over 11% since Christmas, and explains the muted response to the news this morning. Grainger has wrapped up the sale of a property portfolio across the UK to Clifden holdings for £87m , but will still manage the properties for a fee of around 600k per year. After costs, the deal will bank near £10m for Grainger, who’s stock was higher on the release. 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.