Market Commentary from Chief Market Strategist at

At the start of the trading week, politics remains in focus for many markets. Last week saw President Trump visit the UK and today he meets with Russia’s President Putin. Apparently there is no formal agenda for the meeting but of course given both personalities involved here there is always the possibility of surprise which could have an impact on markets.

The end of last week saw a very strong finish for stock markets – in the USA the broader S&P500 index finished at its best levels in more than five months. The question now is whether there is enough momentum left to challenge the all-time high set in January of this year.  There’s plenty of news-flow for stock markets this week as the US quarterly earnings season continues with the likes of Netflix, Goldman Sachs, eBay and Microsoft all reporting. For the UK, the state of the High Street remains under focus with the latest retail sales due out on Thursday.  The latest UK retailer under pressure is department store Debenhams with the weekend press reporting that its credit insurers were tightening terms. The share price of Debenhams has lost more than 50% of its value so far this year.

Last week was relatively quiet one for major currency markets.  the pound continues to swing on various political resignations and utterings from the UK government but is broadly unchanged over the past three weeks.  it’s a big week for UK economic data with the latest unemployment numbers released on Tuesday and inflation on Wednesday – the CPI reading is expected to show 2.5%.  it could well mean more volatility for the pound in the days ahead.

The price of oil continues to flip-flop around the $70 a barrel mark.  Although this has recently set three year highs, it has been somewhat directionless in recent weeks.  Perhaps there is something from today’s Trump/Putin meeting that will inspire traders to pick a side and set up a more meaningful push here.

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