FTSE closes higher as Wall Street snaps losing streak

After a strong start, the FTSE drifted lower for most of the morning, briefly dipping into negative territory before strong gains on Wall Street lifted the UK index back towards earlier highs. A broker upgrade for Tesco helped lift the stock over 2% with the gains coming at the expense of Morrison’s and Sainsbury, which featured on the loser board. Also, on the loser board was Hammerson following a broker downgrade for and Unilever after news that it will move to Netherlands as part of the collapsing of its dual listed structure.

After a strong start, the FTSE drifted lower for most of the morning, briefly dipping into negative territory before strong gains on Wall Street lifted the UK index back towards earlier highs. A broker upgrade for Tesco helped lift the stock over 2% with the gains coming at the expense of Morrison’s and Sainsbury, which featured on the loser board. Also, on the loser board was Hammerson following a broker downgrade for and Unilever after news that it will move to Netherlands as part of the collapsing of its dual listed structure.

Dow jumps 250 points

Wall Street pushed higher on the open snapping its recent losing streak. Trade war concerns were still lingering, however after 3 consecutive days of losses, totalling over 2% on the Dow, bargain hunters have been quick to jump in on a slight uptick in sentiment.

Whilst data on Thursday was a mixed bag, investors didn’t dwell on the weaker than forecast Philadelphia Business outlook; instead choosing to focus on an upbeat reading on continuing jobless claims, and increasing import prices. These indicators point to the continued tightening of the labour market and increasing inflationary pressures, enough to keep the dollar content.

Kudlow replaces Cohn in the White House

The appointment of Larry Kudlow as the new Economic Advisor at the White House has gone some way to improving sentiment on the Street. By coming out a declaring his support for a stronger dollar, whilst also warning the Fed over hiking rates too quickly, Kudlow has already sold himself as the market’s hero. There is of course also the small issue of trade wars and whilst Kudlow had previously opposed Trumps views, he was quick to support a tough stance towards China. That said, Kudlow is being viewed as a cheerleader for growth, open markets and trade liberalization, what the market wants to see right now, which begs the question how long will he last under Trump?

Bitcoin Bloodbath

The dire week continues for Bitcoin, which is currently trading down 18% since its Monday high and continues to struggle to find its footing. News that Google will join the likes of Facebook and drop adverts for Cryptocurrencies has hit Bitcoin particularly hard. 

This move by Google not only removes some of the legitimacy from the Cryptocurrency, but also flips on its head the paradigm that Bitcoin is becoming more main stream and more respectable. 

How legitimate can Bitcoin be if internet giants Facebook and Google aren’t interested? This news from Google also comes hot on the heels of a string of other negative announcements, such further regulatory crackdowns and the unloading of a sizeable number of bitcoin by Mt Geox trustees, all of which have resulted in a bloodbath for the virtual currency.

Bitcoin has dropped from just shy of 9900 to 8160. The next region of interest is around the mid 7000’s. A break below this level could see Bitcoin retest is February low of $5922. On the upside, a break above 9200 could indicate a stabilization.

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