The FTSE 100 moved into positive territory in early action on thin Christmas Eve volume and after the Dow Jones managed its first close above 18,000.
By 9am the FTSE 100 was 8.1 points ahead at 6606.27. London markets will close early today at 12:30. Elsewhere across Europe:
- The Frankfurt Stock Exchange is closed.
- The Paris Stock Exchange closes early at 2.05pm Central European Time.
- The Milan Stock Exchange is closed.
- The Madrid Stock Exchange closes early at 2.05pm CET.
As Jasper Lawler, analyst at CMC Markets observes: “It’s Christmas Eve and the human beings that drive European markets, even those programming the algorithms, are turning their attention to subjects far-removed from the daily price swings.”
The Dow’s record-setting close yesterday followed the US GDP reading for the third quarter coming in at a healthy 5%. That, says Lawler, analyst at CMC Markets, is all the more impressive when compared with lower revisions to UK growth and recession in many parts of Europe.
He adds: “It’s not hard to see why the pound and euro both broke to fresh multi-year lows against the US dollar on Tuesday and could be expected to continue to do so heading into next year.
“In 2015 the dollar is set to benefit from accelerating US growth aided by falling oil prices but the pound faces political uncertainty over the general election in May and the euro is looking at the prospect of further devaluation through ECB balance sheet expansion.”
On the corporate front Glencore announced a share buyback in 2015, with up to £120m repurchased by 24 March at the latest. The move follows a £600m buyback programme in August.
Notable media reports, meanwhile, include credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s putting Russia’s rating on a ‘negative’ outlook, raising the prospect that it could downgrade the country’s debt to ‘junk’ within weeks, according to The Times. S&P says the move reflects its concerns over the impact of a weakening economy on Russia’s financial system.