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FTSE trades higher, miners lead gains
Stocks traded higher in Asia as Australian and Swiss growth figures came in better than expected. Nikkei and Shanghai’s Composite rallied 4.11% and 4.26% respectively. The Aussie surged to 0.7244 against the US dollar. This was just a stone’s throw below the 200-day moving average (0.7256) never breached since September 2014. Carry traders are seeking higher returns along with the improvement in risk appetite. Gold is down, while WTI is ready to grasp the $35 level.

The surprise rise in the fourth quarter GDP growth in Canada sent the Loonie nearly to 75 cent against the US dollar. The Loonie has been steadily gaining since the end of January and the recovery in oil prices explains an important part of the current appreciation. Should the WTI take over the $35 level, there will be little reason to pull the Loonie back from appreciating over the 75 cents against the US dollar, aiming for a rise toward the 80 cent level.

The FTSE opened higher following a prosperous Asian trading session. Miners lead gains with Antofagasta (+4.91%), BHP Billiton (+3.89%), Anglo American (+3.89%) and Glencore (+2.87%). The fact that Asian markets are powering ahead this morning coupled with Glasenberg’s positive comments yesterday about China as a metals consumer have helped to underpin the stock this morning despite a broker downgrade from Renaissance Capital. Copper prices have also stabilised for the moment and the surprisingly good Australian GDP data print is giving all commodity producers a leg higher this morning.

LSE (-1%) is consolidating gains after having surged by nearly 40% since Feb 9th. Merger talks between Deutsche Boerse and LSE gained traction as ICE confirmed interest.

ITV (-2%) A 20% gain in 2015 earnings per share as well as introducing a special dividend (10p per share) (along with the final dividend) should have put the share price on the front foot this morning. It seems shareholders are more focused on the fact that share of viewing dropped back owing to competition from the likes of the BBC, with the main ITV channel falling by 4% in 2015. The TV company is however upbeat about the year ahead and expects ad revenues to outperform.

In the US, Donald Trump won seven Super Tuesday states, whilst Ted Cruz got two victories, and Hillary Clinton moved closer to securing her place as the likely Democratic presidential candidate. Back on Wall Street and US manufacturing data showed slight expansion in February and revived expectations that the US economy may still be in better shape than many think. Market watchers today begin the run in to Friday’s jobs report with the ADP employment report. The consensus is 190K versus 205K private jobs added last month. Any positive surprise could help the dollar to strengthen before Friday’s nonfarm figures.

We call the Dow 15 points higher to 16880 at the US open.
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