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FTSE rallies as China breaks for holidays

London shares are showing surprising strength at the open, being granted some reprieve from the Chinese coronavirus news as the markets there closed and will remain closed until the end of next week for Chinese New Year. In the meantime the virus is continuing to spread and another two cities have now been cut off in an attempt to contain the outbreak.

With Brexit coming closer some of the UK stocks primarily focused on the domestic market are gaining ground including Auto Trader Group and Experian, both of which have also been recently upgraded by analysts.

A last minute review into the Takeway.com and Just Eat merger by the UK competition regulator has slowed down the companies’ merger plans. Takeaway.com said the merger will be postponed by a week but early comments from the company indicate that the whole merger may be thrown into question. Just Eat led the FTSE fallers with a 3.59% decline.

German PMI surprises on the upside but euro struggles

For the first time in months German manufacturing has showed some signs of recovery. Granted, the sector still remains deep in contraction, but in December it performed at the strongest in almost a year. Most of the country’s growth is still being created by the services sector which has helped raise the composite PMI to 51.1 from 50.2 in November. This should be good news for the euro but the lack of enthusiasm yesterday from the European Central Bank and protracted trade frictions with the US are continuing to weigh on the currency. In contrast, the pound is gaining ground against the dollar ahead of the UK PMI data later today.

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