European markets edge higher in quiet trade

<p>The FTSE 100 traded higher by 17pts in yet another quiet trading session as the trading week ends. The benchmark UK Index closed at 5852, […]</p>

The FTSE 100 traded higher by 17pts in yet another quiet trading session as the trading week ends. The benchmark UK Index closed at 5852, rising 0.3% and tracking similarly small gains in broader European trade with activity low amongst traders, with the majority of which continuing to take a leave of absence.

There was no significant UK or European economic data to look at today and so most eyes were cast towards comments from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the US data out in the afternoon trading session.

Merkel said yesterday that she supported the crisis fighting efforts of Mario Draghi, the ECB President, and continued to pressure her European brethren to move even further towards fiscal integration in a visit to Ottawa, Canada. Of course, this rhetoric is nothing new but of course in a market devoid of much news and low activity, it is getting slightly more prominence than it may well deserve. How many times in the recent past have we seen soft language one day exchange from tough rhetoric mere weeks later by the German leader. As such, these comments should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Economic data out of the US this afternoon failed to play an influential role in how European equities closed the session. US Michigan Consumer Sentiment came in stronger than the market expected, at 73.6 against consensus forecasts of a small rise to 72.4 from 72.3. Leading indicators also beat expectations with a stronger than forecast rise of 0.4%, though the previous reading of -0.3% was downwardly revised to -0.4%.

Across the Atlantic however US stock indices are now poised at interesting and crucial levels, with the S+P 500 hitting its highest levels since early April. Resistance lays at 1,415, which the index managed to close at last night and so with US indices currently trading marginally higher also today, it will be interesting to see how they perform next week. The last time the S+P 500 was at this level, the Index fell 10% within the space of a month. See my blog post for more stats and charts on the key Index levels to watch.

Some of the more actively traded stocks in London trade were ARM Holdings, Barclays, Anglo American and Pennon Group.

ARM Holdings shares rose 1.2% after Acer reported that they will introduce two models for the launch of the Windows 8 and Windows RT, which will utilise ARM Holdings chip architecture. The tech firm did however warn of slowing growth.

Barclays shares rose 3.5% tracking a stronger UK banking sector that also helped to see the share prices of bank Lloyds supported.

Anglo American shares slumped towards the bottom of the FTSE 100 performers list however, falling 2.3%, tracking a broadly weaker mining sector that also saw shares of ENRC and Rio Tinto fall around the 1% mark.

Pennon Group shares fell close to 0.3%, having suffered heavier falls in the mornings trade, after an interim management update reported in line performance but cautioned that trading had been difficult, particularly at its waste management arm Viridor.

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