For those that don’t know what happened regarding the Italian elections this is a SPOILER ALERT. Markets have returned to a situ of relative calm this morning following the rather farcical (comic if you had kept your powder dry and had no market exposure) start to the week as we see the soap opera of Italian politics coming to a rather disappointingly civil conclusion, failing to fulfil the needs of all Breaking Bad viewers hungry for another climactic finale. With the US shutdown set to continue into the weekend and beyond traders seem hesitant in their decision making with the FTSE already 4% lower than its month high. The already cancelled non-farm payrolls tomorrow and likelihood that we may not get todays jobless claims means we are lacking any catalyst to give the market a push in either direction in the short term but no doubt there is a storm just around the corner. On what is a serenely calm market in comparison to the rest of the week Aviva has taken the headlines in the single stock news as they confirm the sale of their US life business. The cash proceeds to the deal are $800m higher than the $1.8m announced on the 21st of December due to additional estimated earnings and other improvements in statutory surplus, shareholders have received the news positively pushing the stock 3.3% higher. A strong set of half year results for retailer Ted baker have failed to make them the fashionable choice for traders this morning as they trade broadly flat on the open. The share price has rallied 75% since the turn of the year so it would seem that perhaps the positive news has already been priced in. Key features of the results included entering 6 new international markets, group revenue having jumped 30.9% and profit came in at 49.7% higher. The tone from Chief Executive, Ray Kelvin, although positive on the whole was tempered by the reiterance that the second half trading is the key in determining the success of the company. Sticking to the retail sector we see Sports Direct trading almost 2% lower on news that two of Mike Ashley’s right hand men sold shares to the value of £6.46m yesterday, the day on which they exercised the option to buy them. BTG group have confirmed that that current performance is in line with expectations but have still increased full year guidance based on the positive integration of recent acquisitions, namely EKOS Corp and the Targeted Therapies division of Nordion. 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.