European markets have started the big day in positive mood after strong German confidence numbers and UK unemployment that continues to edge ever closer to the 7% holy grail. German IFO came in at 107.4 vs 106.4 expectations to give the Dax and its European followers a boost an hour into trading, and UK unemployment hit 7.4% which again beat expectations of 7.6%. At the current pace we would be set to hit targets in the UK ahead of schedule and likely increase pressure on interest rates under Carney’s forward guidance. So now on to the main event, with only US housing and oil stock numbers to go before the stage clears for Bernanke to either give the markets one last Christmas present or risk a backlash from low volume equity markets by reducing the dosage. One thing is for sure, given all the hype and the countless headlines taking many to the point of boredom at times, a dull market reaction would be a huge disappointment. The odds change depending who you’re talking to, but its close enough to 50/50 to have everyone on the end of their seat…..over to you Ben. Following Dixons results yesterday, electrical retail rival Darty reported similar strength in H1, with operating profits up 25% on a 1.8% bump in revenues. However where Dixons stock sold off yesterday on a cautious outlook, there was no such sentiment from Darty, just reaffirmed confidence that their turnaround plan can bring further increases in earnings in the medium term. The stock was up 3.5% on the release and there was perhaps a slight helping hand to Dixons as well who also sit in the green in early trade. Another stock moving higher is Ophir energy, announcing an agreement with OMV to assist with its deepwater offshore blocks in Gabon. The firm believe that the additional finance and experience is a good deal for the interest they have retained for potential shareholder return and today’s move would indicate those shareholders agree….. BP haven’t had much in the way of good news streaming from the gulf of Mexico in recent years, so today’s reports of a “significant” oil discovery at its Gila site, a joint owned venture with ConocoPhillips, will be welcome news indeed. Centamin Egypt also moved higher after an update on its Sukari gold mine revealed an increase in potential resources. Stagecoach has announced the acquisition of the Norfolk green bus operator, adding another 70 buses and 4.6m passengers a year to its books. 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.