The FTSE 100 made a solid start on Thursday morning despite weakness in the US overnight as investors responded to minutes from the Federal Reserve and US inflation figures.
AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said: “While inflation is easing across the Atlantic, core inflation (stripping out more volatile food and energy costs) is remaining as stubbornly sticky as some stray super glue on a finger. Insights into the Fed’s thinking will have done little to calm investors as they revealed concern about financial stability in the wake of the banking crisis as well as about tackling rising prices.
“The sceptre of recession in the world’s largest economy continues to loom in the near distance and could cloud sentiment for some time.
“The UK economy ground to a halt in February with zero growth and while industrial action was a big culprit, the threat of further strikes means this cannot just be dismissed as a short-term issue.
“Imperial Leather maker PZ Cussons cleaned up in its third quarter as it demonstrated some pricing power which underpinned higher margins.
“This suggests innovation and investment behind its brands is paying off – the one fly in the ointment was a weaker showing from the important Nigerian market, where bank note changes and an election in February disrupted demand.”