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MARKET PREVIEW: FTSE 100 seen higher after metal prices rebound, Slovakia approves EFSF

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The FTSE 100 is headed for a higher start today thanks to a rebound in base metal prices, which fell sharply to drag miners down yesterday after China reported that its trade surplus fell below US$15 billion last month as growth in exports slowed.

The UK's blue chip index is set to open at 4,437, up 34 points (0.6 percent) from Thursday’s close.

Higher metal prices and Slovakia’s approval of the expansion of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) helped the markets shrug off a disappointing earnings report from bank JP Morgan (NYSE:JPM) as well as Standard & Poor’s downgrade of Spain’s credit rating by one notch to AA-minus.

“After at first saying 'no' to the expansion of the eurozone rescue fund, the Slovak parliament has done as expected and ratified the plans... This means that all 17 members of the eurozone (well, their parliaments anyway) have approved the increase in the size of the fund, which in theory means that larger nations like Italy and Spain are at less risk of financial contagion,” said UK analysts at IG Group.

In addition, tech stocks got a boost from Google (NYSE:GOOG), whose third quarter earnings came in ahead of expectations.

Today, traders will be looking to an update on US retail sales for September and the first reading of the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index for October.

US stocks were in selling mode yesterday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) shed 41 points (0.35 percent) to end the session at 11,478 and the broader S&P 500 index dropped 3.5 points (0.3 percent) to close at 1,203.

Asian stocks took their cues from US equities today. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index stood 75 points (0.85 percent) at 8,749 just before close of play and China’s Shanghai Composite Index shed 27.5 points (1.1 percent), falling to 2,411 at the end of the session.

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