FTSE sinks ahead of a busy week

After a mixed session in Asia last night, the FTSE is seen starting the new week, firmly on the back foot. With almost all sectors in the red, the standout performer is the Real Estate Investment Trusts sector which is currently up just shy of 3%, boosted by news of a takeover bid by French Klepierre on Hammerson. Hammerson shares have soared a massive 27% on the news, even though the approach was quickly rejected, it appears to have whetted investors appetites.

After a mixed session in Asia last night, the FTSE is seen starting the new week, firmly on the back foot. 

With almost all sectors in the red, the standout performer is the Real Estate Investment Trusts sector which is currently up just shy of 3%, boosted by news of a takeover bid by French Klepierre on Hammerson. Hammerson shares have soared a massive 27% on the news, even though the approach was quickly rejected, it appears to have whetted investors appetites.

UK housing market: a sellers market

Also holding up relatively well in the sea of red is the house builder, following encouraging Rightmove house price data. House pieces in the UK experienced their biggest monthly increase since 2004. 

House prices in March soared 1.5% month on month as a combination of increased demand from first time buyers coupled with heavy reduced supply tilted the pendulum towards a sellers’ market. 

So, whilst the average house price hit a fresh all time high, it is worth keeping in mind how Thursdays BoE meeting could impact on this. Any indications of two rate rises this year could potentially draw some demand out of the market leaving it once again fairly stagnant.

Trade war on the G20 agenda

The G20 has the potential to be a rather awkward occasion for US Trade Secretary Steve Mnuchin as he looks to defend the US’s behaviour regarding recent tariffs on steel and aluminium. The rest of the G20 will almost certainly be looking to explore other routs in an attempt to avoid an all out global trade war.

US dollar steady ahead of Wednesday’s Fed rate decision

Yet whilst US politics drove trading in the previous week, it is likely to take a back seat this week, as investor attention will settle squarely on central bank action on both sides of the Atlantic. 

The market is pricing in a 94% probability of the Fed, in its first meeting under Jerome Powell hiking rates, meaning there is little room for surprise to the upside. Instead, the key point will be whether the Fed are ready to put a more aggressive slant on policy going forwards, put simply will the Fed continue pointing to 3 hikes across the year or are they looking to push this higher to 4? 

With 90% on Fed speakers who hit the airwaves over the past month sounding decidedly hawkish on this point, the dollar could find itself looking back up towards 91 as a target, a level which has eluded it since mid-January.

A word on Russia

The Russian elections over the weekend saw Putin triumph in the polls, winning the biggest victory in any election in his 18 years in power. 

His popularity has only increased following the Skirpal poisoning, despite sanctions promised from the allies. The Russia Ruble hit a 4-week low versus the dollar as investors mulled over the result in addition to sanctions from the US following meddling in US elections.

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