FTSE opens higher defying US markets losing streak

The FTSE opened a fraction higher as did most European bourses except for Frankfurt, defying the trend set by US stocks. Concerns over the fallout of the US-China trade war have seen the Dow Jones Industrial Average close down for eight consecutive sessions while the Nasdaq sank 0.9% on Thursday, the biggest single-day fall since April.

The FTSE opened a fraction higher as did most European bourses except for Frankfurt, defying the trend set by US stocks. Concerns over the fallout of the US-China trade war have seen the Dow Jones Industrial Average close down for eight consecutive sessions while the Nasdaq sank 0.9% on Thursday, the biggest single-day fall since April.

The pound is 0.42% stronger against the dollar building on a 1% increase late Thursday as the Bank of England voted to keep rates unchanged. Although the rate decision was not a surprise the unexpected hawkish vote ended up giving sterling a boost.

OPEC concerns boost oil prices

Brent crude oil jumped 1.3% this morning as the OPEC meeting gets under way in Vienna. The markets are on tenterhooks over whether the oil cartel will be able to agree on production increases and how large these will be. 

While the biggest OPEC member Saudi Arabia is aiming for an increase of about 1 million barrels a day it seems more likely that the oil producers will agree on about half of that amount given that Iran is opposing the idea of the large output bump. West Texas Intermediate prices were also pulled higher and the US contract traded up 1.0%

Ocado still rising after broker comments

Online grocery retailer Ocado is leading the FTSE 100 risers this morning after a 6% jump in value yesterday, still basking in the glow of a broker comment calling it the “Microsoft of retail”.  

The company has been able to secure a series of large deals to provide its e-commerce platform to retailers including WM Morrison Supermarket in the UK, Kroger in the US, the Casino Group in France and a number of other countries. 

Ocado has scaled its operations very quickly and to a much wider audience than expected and its online platform has the potential to become the standard platform used by the largest global supermarket chains.

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