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Financials help FTSE higher

European stocks have surprisingly managed to shake off a weak close on Wall Street on Wednesday where indices dropped to their lowest level in ten weeks on a heady mixture of trade war worries and growing concerns over the state of the US economy. This morning the FTSE is nudging higher mainly thanks to banking and insurance stocks but slightly higher oil prices are also adding to the rally, helping oil majors and mining stocks.

National Grid is among the most fragile stocks, with investors pulling out because of fears that the company - alongside other utilities - could end up being renationalized if there is a shift in the UK political landscape that results with Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street.

Sterling blips higher, German bonds strengthen

The pound is slightly stronger as the option of a second referendum gathers momentum but early trade in the currency market has been fairly lacklustre, with an unconvincing move higher by 0.5% against the dollar and the euro. The ongoing trade war tensions are increasingly pushing investors towards safe haven assets, in particular German bonds where yields are now close to record lows.

Oil prices have also nudged higher overnight but remain at their weakest level in weeks as the market tries to gauge the influence of the trade dispute versus ongoing tightness in supplies
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