FTSE rises as China and US step closer

Improved US - China relations ahead of deal signing is boosting risk appetite

China seems to have agreed to some additional concessions to the US, including committing to buy another $80 billion of goods, ahead of the expected signing of the  first phase of the Sino-US trade later deal this week. This is above the $32 billion of goods that China has reportedly agreed to in Phase 1 of the talks, most likely because this would be the least painful concession for the country to make as contentious issues include protection of intellectual property and bigger concessions for Western companies operating in China.

The FTSE seesawed after opening but ended up trending higher, tracking US stock futures which are positioning themselves for a stronger opening later today ahead of the start of the US reporting season. 

Wells Fargo, Citigroup and JP Morgan will be the first companies to step up to the plate. Their results could be mixed, showing that  lower Fed interest rates eroded some earnings but higher income from trading is likely offsetting the decline.

Taylor Wimpey shares notched higher as the company reported record sales rates, up 5% on the year. However, the company’s outlook for 2020 ended up being only moderately positive as the company expects business to pick up in the second half of the year.

Pound continues to slide

The Bank of England’s shift in view towards interest rate cuts is putting pressure on the pound which is travelling further south from the $1.30 level. The balance of the Monetary Policy Committee is shifting towards a cut if economic indicators don’t improve between now and the Bank's next rate-setting meeting at the end of January.

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