With the US having made back some ground last night after a bit of panic on yesterday’s open, UK markets opened up higher this morning before giving back gains by mid-morning. A beat from Jobless claims and a drop in the rate to within a whisker of the 7% “forward guidance” benchmark seems to have concerned investors about the possibility of an early interest rate hike despite the BOE showing no intention to do so in the near future. One indicator that continues to lag is average earnings, which missed estimates to post a 0.9% gain. Dropping unemployment is one thing, but with rail fares, energy bills and house prices all going the other way, consumer spending will continue to suffer as long as wallets are being squeezed by a drop in disposable income. Astrazenica’s stock price seemed rather disinterested in today’s approval for its Xigduo diabetes drug from European regulators. The firm developed the drug in alliance with Bristol-Myers-Squibb, but should take full control of the project later this quarter. Whitbread have confirmed that Chairman Anthony Habgood will step down from his role sometime this year. Habgood has been in the role since 2005 and has seen the stock up 4 fold on his watch, no successor has been announced as yet. BHP Billiton stock edged lower despite record levels of iron ore and coal output. Production at its petroleum and Pilbara iron ore divisions was lower, as well as Iron ore prices hitting 7 month lows today, which seems to have dragged on the stock despite the headline. RBS continued their poor run over the last couple of weeks with a downgrade from UBS sending the stock near 3% lower. 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.