Market overview: Randgold tracking bounce in gold

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LONDON (ShareCast) - 1615: Shares of Randgold Resources are tracking the bounce higher in gold following the yellow metal´s sharp falls this week. Randgold is in overbought territory - as shown by technical indicators.

1510: The speaker of the US House of Representatives, John Boehner, has said that Congressmen on both sides of the aisle must continue to work on finding a solution. If need be House Republicans will come back from break to vote. Some observers however believe that yesterday´s failure of his Plan B could lead to his being substituted.



1445: The University of Michigan´s consumer confidence index for the month of December has come in at 72.9 (Consensus: 74.7).

1330: US personal incomes rose at a rate of 0.6 per cent month-on-month in November (Xetra: A0Z24E - news) according to the latest data out today from the Census Bureau (Consensus: 0.3 per cent). That was the largest rise since February. The latest data on durable goods orders have also come in well ahead of forecasts as has the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago´s latest national activity index data. FTSE 100 (FTSE: ^FTSE - news) down 41 to 5,918.

1101: The FTSE 100 has extended losses and is trading down 50 points at 5,908 with US stock futures pointing to a very weak start on Wall Street in the coming hours. Futures for the Dow and S&P 500 are showing a loss of 1.35-1.4 per cent ahead of the opening bell. Following last night's cancelled vote on John Boehner's 'Plan B', ' it is now highly unlikely that a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff will be reached before Christmas and the real fear hanging over the market, is that a deal may not be reached at all,' said financial trader Shavaz Dhalla from Spreadex.

1010: Aviva (LSE: AV.L - news) selling Aviva USA for 1.8bn pounds. Footsie options and futures expiries coming up at 10:15. Carnival (LSE: CCL.L - news) may be benefitting from positive comments out on the company yesterday evening from Deutsche Bank (Xetra: 514000 - news) .

0930: UK gross domestic product expanded at an 0.9 per cent quarterly rate in the three months to September, according to revised data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Meantime, the public sector net cash requirement dropped to -6.8bn pounds in November, after a reading of -14.6bn pounds for the previous month (Consensus: -1bn pounds). Public sector net borrowing rose by 17.5bn pounds after an increase of 8.2bn in October (Consensus: 16bn). FTSE 100 down 54 to 5,904.

0924: This is Investec (LSE: INVP.L - news) analyst Andrew Gollan´s view of the news out this morning on BAE Systems (LSE: BA.L - news) : "A higher specification aircraft (Tranche 3A) and a requirement for 8 Hawk Jet Trainers lifts the value to approximately 2.5bn pounds compared to an opportunity previously mooted to be 2bn pounds. In the price? The stock has had a good run and Saudi and Oman are likely contributory factors. The trading challenges in BAE's core US market remain, however, regardless of "progress" on the 'fiscal cliff' / sequestration. Hence we maintain our neutral stance with an unchanged target price of 325p."

0914: The uncertainty surrounding the US fiscal cliff could conceivably get prolonged until early Spring. For Nomura economist Lewis Alexander: "It may take the imminent threat of a breach of the debt limit in February, or March at the latest, to force an agreement. The direct effects of higher taxes and spending cuts, which take effect in January, will probably not be felt immediately. Our forecast for the first quarter - real GDP growth of 0.5 per cent in the first quarter - anticipates some disruption from the contentious debate over fiscal policy. However, it also assumes that three quarters of the fiscal cliff polices are ultimately pushed off. The longer uncertainty persists, the greater the negative impact on the economy."

0831: UK stocks have begun the day lower, tracking the drop seen in Wall Street equity futures after US House Republicans decided not to support even Boehner´s s0-called 'Plan B.' Also of possible interest, the MNI China 'flash' business sentiment indicator fell to 52.23 in December from 53.78 in November, although the production component improved to 55.41 from 52.03. Meanwhile, and back in the UK, Consultant Gfk´s UK consumer confidence gauge for the month of December fell to -29 points after a reading of -22 for the previous month (Consensus: -25), almost completely reversing last month´s rise. On the corporate front, defensives such as United Utilities (LSE: UU.L - news) and British American Tobacco (LSE: BATS.L - news) are finding a good bid this morning, along with the shares of the increasingly shale oriented outfit Weir Group (Other OTC: WEIGY - news) . BAE Systems is down despite confirming it has signed a multi-billion pound deal with the government of Oman to supply of Typhoon and Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer aircraft. FTSE 100 down 22 to 5,936.