Trade war ceasefire helps European stocks

A few quiet days on the Sino-US tariff front have helped Asian and European markets higher this morning but the positive opening on the FTSE was only short lived.

A few quiet days on the Sino-US tariff front have helped Asian and European markets higher this morning but the positive opening on the FTSE was only short lived. Declines by steel makers and several industrials are balancing out bounces in NMC Health and miners.

President Trump eased the pressure on Iran saying that it was possible to reach a deal with the country about its nuclear programme thereby causing Brent crude prices to slip below $69. The reaction was somewhat dampened by some tightness in the oil market caused by thinner supplies from Venezuela and frictions in the Middle East.

Leadership battle sets scene for more currency volatility

Two days after the European elections the pound is nudging lower against the dollar and the euro on concerns that the overwhelming win by the Brexit party will make a no-deal Brexit one of the more favoured options in Westminster. Sterling is trading at $1.2662 and is facing more volatility over the course of the week as the battle for the leadership of the Conservative Party starts in earnest. Home Secretary Sajid Javid is the latest contender to throw his hat into the ring following Esther McVey, Rory Stewart and Boris Johnson.

Italian bond yields are nudging higher and the euro is losing ground against the dollar at the prospect of the European Commission imposing a large fine on Italy. Brussels officials are looking into taking disciplinary steps against the country over its loose public finances as soon as early June.

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