Equity markets erase early losses ahead of UK PPI

<p>Equity markets started the day in nervous fashion as mixed messages yesterday afternoon of Mubarak stepping down were not entirely accurate. Murabak confirmed, during a […]</p>

Equity markets started the day in nervous fashion as mixed messages yesterday afternoon of Mubarak stepping down were not entirely accurate. Murabak confirmed, during a televised speech, that he will remain in office until the September polls, although he has agreed to hand over some powers in the short term. Many protestors were expecting Murabak to step down immediately and as a result, tensions appear to be mounting again in the Egyptian capital.

One stock that benefitted from the inaccurate rumours yesterday afternoon was Centamin Egypt, a gold miner with operations in the eye of the storm. Investors with an appetite for risk were happy to buy the stock based on the fragile rumours, forcing the stock higher yesterday afternoon to close +10.1p or +7.8%. Those bold enough to hold the stock overnight were not rewarded for their bravery. As the true details of Murabak’s planned departure were confirmed, the stock was trading -7.1p or -5.2% at 9am GMT.

Equity markets across Europe were also seemingly spooked by the details of Murabak’s planned departure as most indices traded sharply lower in early trading. However, by 9am GMT most had repaired losses and were trading around parity on the day. The FTSE had rebounded around 0.5% from its lows by 9am0 GMT and was trading -5 points at 6014, with the DAX -13 points at 7327 and the CAC 40 -14 at 4080.

Nokia, the world’s largest maker of handsets, today confirmed a mobile-phone partnership with Microsoft. Stephen Elop, Nokia’s Chief Executive and a former employee of Microsoft, said “Nokia and Microsoft will combine our strengths to deliver an ecosystem with unrivalled global reach and scale.” The partnership comes following Nokia’s long-term poor performance in the high-end handset market, losing valuable ground to Apple’s iPhone and providers of smart phones that use Google’s Android platform. Nokia’s overall share of the handset market fell from 36.6% to 27.1% in the fourth quarter (year on year). Nokia stated that the Windows Phone will become its primary smart phone platform. In early trading, Nokia traded down to a low 7.15 Euros, a loss of just under 1 Euro, or down -12%.

Ocado, the UK distributor of retail consumer products, today confirmed that the John Lewis Partnership Pensions Trust had sold its remaining holding in the company at 265p. The news was poorly received by investors and Ocado traded down to a low of 238.1p, -46.9p or -16.45% – its largest one-day decline since its IPO last year.

Up next on investors’ minds will be UK PPI for January, due out at 9.30am GMT. Expectations are for 0.5% (MoM) and 4.4% (YoY). Following that, we have US Trade Balance due at 1.30pm GMT and the University of Michigan Confidence at 2.55pm GMT. With the initial sell-off quickly erased, it may need something unexpected on the macroeconomic front to spark the market into life. Should that not be forth coming, we may expect a quiet close to the week.

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