The UK blue-chip index is trading in positive territory this morning despite the latest economic release coming in on the soft side. The print of 51.2 for construction PMI in May was below both the 51.9 expected and the previous figure of 52.0, but still signals an expansion for the month. Whilst this morning’s data contrasts the manufacturing numbers yesterday, both pale in significance to the greater macro events of the next 36 hours - with today’s ECB and OPEC meetings in Vienna, and tomorrow’s US non-farm payrolls report potentially of huge importance.
Banks lead FTSE higher
Barclays, Standard Chartered and RBS are all featuring prominently near the top of the FTSE 100 best-performers list so far this morning as the banking sector as a whole moves higher. The gains so far in UK-listed shares are possibly a case of the market recovering some of the losses seen so far this week and with major economic releases commonplace heading into the weekend, it’s likely that both bulls and bears will tread carefully until they can garner more information as to the path of least resistance going forward. At the other end of the index, shares in Wolseley have continued to fall and moved below yesterday’s low, with its latest trading update sparking a sharp decline. House-building company Taylor Wimpey is the worst performing stock of the day at the time of writing - off by more than 4.6% - possibly due to some profit-taking after the strong gains seen over the past month.
Pound moves cautiously off the lows
The pound has bounced marginally higher so far today after yesterday brought a strong depreciation against its two most widely-traded currencies in the Euro and US dollar. With the previously mentioned substantial events for these two trading partners scheduled before the week is out, it could very well be their side of the crosses that drive price movement and impart de facto pressures on the pound. Despite almost making it through a note without mentioning the dreaded B-word, as always keep an eye out for any Brexit related news which continues to be the major macroeconomic driving force for sterling itself.