Bitcoin hits $70,000 in new record high

Thanks for joining me. European markets are poised to open higher amid signs that the US Federal Reserve may soon begin cutting interest rates.

It comes after Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said in testimony on Capitol Hill that the central bank is “not far” from delivering the cuts to interest rates that Wall Street and global stock markets crave. 

He said again that the Fed is just waiting for additional data to confirm inflation is cooling.

5 things to start your day 

1) Hunt’s NI pledge ‘not worth the paper it’s written on’, says IFS | A leading think tank says National Insurance is simply too big a cash generator for the Government to forego

2) Frasers puts Matchesfashion into administration with hundreds of jobs to go | The move comes weeks after Frasers bought the luxury online retailer and puts hundreds of jobs at risk

3) Sir Richard Branson to get £400m in Nationwide takeover of Virgin Money | Acquisition to create second-largest mortgage and savings business in Britain

4) Selfridges tycoon files for insolvency | Rene Benko’s decision comes four months after his property empire Signa collapsed

5) Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: The political tragedy of Emmanuel Macron | The incomprehensible President’s falling star is no cause for celebration

What happened overnight 

Chinese shares rallied following better-than-expected import and export data, signaling increased demand that could support Beijing’s effort to rev up the economy.

The Hang Seng Index added 1.1pc to 16,405.94 in morning trading, led by the tech index, which advanced 1.8pc as China senior officials announced their focus on supporting research and industries to attain breakthroughs in key technologies, including computer chips, during the National People’s Congress.

The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2pc to 3,032.82, and the smaller market in Shenzhen rose 0.5pc.

Tokyo stocks ended higher after rallies on Wall Street led by tech stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 0.2pc, or 90.23 points, to end at 39,688.94, while the broader Topix added 0.3pc, or 8.26 points, to 2,726.80.

In America, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3pc, to 38,791.35. The S&P 500 gained 1pc, to 5,157.36, a record high close. The Nasdaq Composite narrowly missed a closing record to end up 1.5pc, at 16,273.38.

The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury bonds dipped to 4.08pc from 4.11pc late on Wednesday.

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