UK’s services purchasing managers’ index from Markit/CIPS for December was released at 9:30 GMT. The Markit Services PMI which captures an overview of the condition of sales and employment, hit a 17-month high of 56.2 in December, up from 55.2. It should be noted that anything above the 50 mark indicates expansion. It should also be noted that the British Chambers of Commerce said Thursday that the economy has kept its momentum in the last quarter of 2016 but inflation pressures have increased at a near 20-year high.
The sister surveys for manufacturing and construction showed both sectors growing, suggesting that U.K.’s economy was stronger than many had anticipated after the Brexit referendum. The Irish services PMI also indicated that the nations
s services sector rebounded in December. Specifically, the Investec services PMI for Ireland rose to a five-month high of 59.1 in December compared to 56 in November. Markets will also be closely watching tomorrow’s non-farm payrolls report which is expected to show a drop from November’s 216,000 figure to about 175,000.
Markets in Europe opened lower on Thursday after minutes from the last U.S. Federal meeting showed willingness to increase rates at a faster pace. European markets wobbled today as investors remained largely on the sidelines, in anticipation of tomorrow’s NFP reports. Indicatively, Germany’s DAX lost 0.1 percent to last trade at 11573.020, U.K.’s FTSE 100 was last seen trading flat at 7190.00, France’s CAC 40 dipped 0.1 percent at 4894.80 while the Euro Stoxx 50 was last seen trading 0.1 percent higher at 3317.00 as of 9:30 GMT.
Japanese shares were under pressure today after advancing more than 2 percent in the previous session, as a stronger yen weighed on exports. Indicatively Japan’s Nikkei 225 ended 0.4 percent lower at 19,520.69 as the dollar’s momentum waned overnight. Other major Asian indices closed flat to higher with China A50 adding 0.2 percent to close at 10133.70, Hang Seng edging 1.4 percent higher at 22446.00 while India’s Nifty 50 added an impressive 1.1 percent to last trade at 8278.90 as of 9:30 GMT.