The start of trading in London was delayed Thursday morning by an unexpected glitch. The London Stock Exchange did not provide any details about what went wrong but only said the market was expected to open by 9am.
In the meantime the European bourses traded higher on opening as the markets seem to have put behind them recent concerns over Italian politics although the country’s coalition now in power remains fragile and far from united on key issues like economy and the euro.
The Nasdaq closed on its third record high Wednesday and the Dow Jones Industrial Average also saw a 1.4% increase on the day as financial and industrial stocks gathered momentum.
UK house price rise in May more than expected
The UK housing market was stronger than expected in May and prices rose 1.9% to an average of £224,439. Forecasters had expected a slowdown in growth to around 1%, In contrast to an increase in April of 2.2%.
Although the Bank of England’s interest rate increase in November did affect the rise in domestic house prices it proved less than expected and the bank was due to start raising rates again this spring until lower UK economic growth changed the central bankers’ minds. In the last month the economic data has been mostly steady, showing very slow increases which will encourage the BoE to go back to its initial rate increase plans. Once this happens the housing market will be the first to be affected.
Euro firmer after ECB comments
The European currency was up 0.41% against the dollar and barely changed against the pound. The euro managed to remain at a near two-week high in the wake of a comment from a European Central Bank economist that robust growth in Europe signalled that inflation was on its way back to target. This is likely to play into the bank’s plans to end its bond-buying programme before the end of the year.