FTSE higher but Asian shares struggle

European shares are moving gingerly higher and the European currencies are gaining some ground against the dollar.

Focus is turning - back to company news and earnings and away from the Turkish lira, which has now stabilised against the dollar after the onslaught early this week. 

In Asia stock markets came under pressure after a Chinese technology giant reported a loss spreading contagion over other Asian tech stocks. The Shanghai market dropped a solid 1.9% at one point before recovering and closing down 0.8%. News that a Chinese delegation will travel to Washington in late August to try and find a resolution to the Sino-US trade dispute helped Asian stocks to bounce back. The last attempt to find some middle ground between the two countries took place in June in Beijing but didn’t yield an agreement. 

Kingfisher sales pick up in second quarter

Cold weather caused many British retailers to struggle with sales in the first part of the year but the unusually hot spell this summer may just make up for it. Sales of hosepipes, sprinklers and barbeque charcoal were the order of the day in May, June and July, helping Kingfisher, the owner of B&Q and Screwfix, to increase sales by 1.6% during this period. Kingfisher’s sales in the UK did significantly better than at its French business Castorama where they declined 3.8%, roughly at a similar pace as in the first quarter. However, the market remained cautious about the company because the sunshine failed to dispel the Brexit clouds and Kingfisher shares dipped 2.29%. 

Pound and euro nudge higher

The currency markets seem to have stabilised after the free fall in the Turkish lira over the last two weeks and now the Turkish currency is trading higher against the dollar for the third day in a row, at 5.8342. The pound and the euro are also tentatively higher against the greenback, trading up 0.03% and 0.25%, respectively, against the US currency. The pound, however, remains the weaker link against the euro as Brexit deal concerns linger in the background. 

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