Please find below the Afternoon Report from David Evans, market analyst

It’s a mixed bag out there for equities today. The FTSE got off to a
rocky start with the news that IPIC would be pulling some of its
investment in Barclays and banking the profits made to date. Considering
the fact that Barclays slumped to 50p following their initial purchase,
the Gulf investors have held their nerve well and booking gains at just
below current prices seems understandable in the circumstances.

This of course isn’t great news for Barclays as it raises fresh capital
adequacy issues. Barclays has been benefitting from an independence
premium, rising faster and further than that its rivals that had to take
part in the UK government asset protection scheme. Now that ‘premium’ is
being called into question, though Barclays may be better placed to
whether the storm now that optimism appears to be creeping back into the
global economic psyche.

Oil is continuing its bull run. It’s remarkable to note that crude
prices have doubled in just 75 trading days from $33.75 to current
levels. Gold is back on the offensive after taking a breather yesterday
and the dollar is coming under further pressure as the pound breaches
levels not seen since November. The flight to quality continues to
unwind, helped especially by news that US pending homes sales have risen
by far more than expected.

Prior to the credit crunch, with oil running high, the US dollar hit
parity against the Canadian dollar. Similar conditions could cause the
same to happen again. A one touch trade predicting that the USD/ CAD
will touch 1.0000 in the next 90 days could return 165%.