Equity markets look to consolidate yesterday’s gains following positive updates from Apple & IBM overnight

<p>Equity markets were flat in early trading and looking to consolidate yesterday’s positive move following better than expected updates from Apple and IBM after the close in […]</p>

Equity markets were flat in early trading and looking to consolidate yesterday’s positive move following better than expected updates from Apple and IBM after the close in the US last night.

Apple, unsurprisingly beat market expectations late last night helped by festive purchases of iPads, iPhones and Mac computers. Sales were up +71% to $26.7 billion beating analysts’ predictions of $24.2 billion, with Net income up to $6 billion ($6.43 a share) from $3.38 billion ($3.67 a share) a year earlier. Apple was trading down around -5% premarket but rallied following the release of their earnings and finally closed down -2.25% at $340.65, although it did trade to a high of $357 during afterhours trading.

IBM also impressed the market with their update late last night and closed up +$0.65 (+0.43%) at $150.65. Combine the two releases late last night with the recent update from Intel and you can see why investors are seeking gains in tech stocks – the upward momentum looks set to continue for the tech sector. ARM holdings, the UK listed tech firm and subject of recent takeover speculation was trading slightly better on the day at 540.5p, up +4p (+0.7%).

One UK listed company who buoyed UK investors this morning was ASOS, the online fashion retailer, whose earnings beat expectations with retails sales up +59% year on year. UK sales were up +23% with International sales up +156%. Nick Robertson CEO commented “another very strong quarter” and “we remain confident about the outlook and expect our full year results to be in line with market expectations.” ASOS traded to a high of 1596 in early trading, up +46p (+2.9%).

Soco International, the UK listed oil and gas producer was up strong in early trading continuing yesterday afternoon’s impressive move. Soco traded up to a high of 379.5p, up +14.5p (+3.9%) this morning following bid speculation overnight. The Mail online reported that Sinochem Petroleum may well be circling again following interest in two offshore exploration blocks in Vietnam a couple of years ago.

At 8.30am (GMT) European equity markets were generally unchanged on the day. The FTSE 100 is looking to consolidate above the 6050 level and is currently trading near flat on the day. Its European counterparts were also trading around yesterday’s closing levels or fractionally better with the DAX up +12 points at 7155 and the CAC40 up +6 points at 4018.

There is little of high market importance due out on the macro front today with only UK Jobless Claims (9.30 GMT), US Mortgage Applications (13.30 GMT) and US Housing Starts (15.00 GMT) to come. Therefore investors will probably be looking to the release of Goldman Sachs fourth quarter earnings to inspire a market move. Yesterday Citigroup failed to meet market expectations and investors will be looking for better from its sector stable mate before the US open. Should Goldman’s fail to deliver we could see yesterday’s gains given up during this afternoons session.

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