European stocks continued their sideways trend as investors seek further catalysts to spur more gains. US futures are testing record levels again in light volume with yesterday being the lightest full-day action this year. This shows investors are now turning away from the markets at these historic levels and waiting for more clarity from central banks.
German factory orders and UK manufacturing production data showed better than expected results, adding to evidence Europe is recovering. German orders increased 3.8 percent from a month earlier with orders increasing by the most in eight months driven by contracts for bulk items. Manufacturing Production in the UK rose significantly in June, fuelled by optimism over the country’s improving outlook which came in at 1.9 percent in June, beating the 0.9 percent increase.
Both Credit Agricole SA and Standard Chartered reported this morning with Credit Agricole posting better-than-expected earnings. Meanwhile Standard Chartered posted a 24 percent drop in first-half profit after writing down the value of its Korean business by $1 billion. However, shares in Standard Chartered were up nearly 5 percent by midday as investors took kindly to their results.