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Equity rise but caution prevails
European equity markets are slightly higher this morning with the Dax (+2%) outperforming adding 0.64% in early trade. Volkswagen, despite all the emissions scandal and wider than expected Q3 loss of €3.48bn the stock is higher this morning and this clearly aiding the upside in the German bourse. While €6.7bn has been set aside and linked to the 11 million cars affected by emission cheating software.
The weaker euro has clearluy been of some use to VW with a boost in sales revenue been attributed (for a change ) to favourable FX conditions.

The FTSE has been weighed down by the financials and basic resource sectors with the defensive sectors attracting more interest ahead of the Fed meeting later today.
Fresnillo and Randgold are the outliers in the metals production arena – both rising over 1% as gold steadies and rises for the second consecutive day amid the overwhelming expectations that the Fed will stand pat today.

Present price action in gold would point to further upside, likely at the expense of the greenback, having recently broken out of a 10 month downtrend and once again challenging the 200 day moving average The September Fed minutes revealed some concerns over the stability of inflation expectations – ‘some’ participants noted that it might be a mistake to raise rates and only increase downside risks to CPI until it becomes clear that economic growth would remain at an above trend pace.
With the uncertainty around China abating at least for now amid action from the PBOC which is expected to cushion the deterioration in its growth, it’s still worth looking at commodity prices. The BBG commodity index is now trading near 16 year lows – yet central banks continue to view this as transient. And many Fed members feel under pressure to be pro-active rather than reactive when this commodity rout eventually ends.

Equity Highlights

Another set of weak Q3 numbers from Lloyds (-4.39%) this morning. Underlying pre-tax profit missed by 6% (£1.972bn v exp £2.1bn) with weakness in other income being the main driver. The non-recurrence of annuity transactions and a challenging trading environment have been assigned the blame. Lower costs partially offset this weakness. Guidance was cautious with no change to dividend while net interest margin has been revised higher. FY results are still expected to come in lower than the same period last year.

Meggitt (-21%) A significant profit warning from the aircraft supplier group which stated that underlying operating profit for the year will be well below the guidance of £369m. The company is expected to cut staff by around 300. Profitability was impacted by lower than expected sales, customer program deferrals and a weak energy market business.

BT Group (+3.41%) provisional approval has been granted by the regulator for BT to acquire Deutsche Telecom and Orange SA wireless venture EE. BY is to acquire the above for £12.5b.

SAB MILLER (+0.69%) Extension on merger to November 4th, as per speculation yesterday. Inbev now have another week to make a formal offer and this will also give SAB time to ensure shareholder support for the merger as well as financing for the $106bn deal.

Next (-1%) Q3 sales growth beat estimates with increased discounts helping. Revenue rose 7.3% - the lower end of the FY outlook has also been raised with expectations from the group for a pre-tax profit of £810m-845m. The stock has seen gains of 17% this year and the clothing group is on track to continue its store expansion plans.

Intercontinental Hotel (+0.92%) WSJ article speculating Chinese firms said to vie for Starwood hotels purchase. Reuters: ‘’ Starwood had reached out to potential bidders including InterContinental Hotels Group Plc (IHG.L), Wyndham Worldwide Corp (WYN.N) and sovereign wealth funds in July, three months after it decided to explore a sale. InterContinental had said then that it was "not in talks with Starwood with a view to a combination of the businesses," while Wyndham had declined to comment.

BAT (+1.95%) The cigarette maker beat estimates with revenue rising 4.2% in the 9 months through September. The pound strength is expected to impact profit growth in the fourth quarter – wrose then the 9T negative effect that it anticipated back in July.

We are calling the Dow higher by 34 points to 17615.