City Watch: Barclays crisis? It makes a change from the euro, says Brian Tora

IT MAKES a pleasant change to find Europe pushed out of the headlines.

The departure of Barclays boss Bob Diamond got last week off to an interesting start but by the time the end was reached the abiding concern was whether Andy Murray could emulate Fred Perry. We all know the outcome now, but as he said himself, at least he’s getting closer.

Markets held relatively steady last week and, were it not for the rain, I imagine there might even be a few cautious smiles around the Square Mile.

There really hasn’t been a great deal going on. The screens at Liverpool Street station were devoid of financial news as I arrived in the City yesterday.

But, of course, business continues. Shares had a soggy sort of a day for the most part yesterday. Hard news was at a premium, and there is not a great deal in prospect as the week unwinds. There will be a glimpse of life on the high street. Marks & Spencer are issuing an interim management statement today, while Burberry makes a similar announcement tomorrow. Neither is likely to be that riveting.

But if there has been one area of at least passing interest, it has been the slowly subsiding euro. It is currently a whisker under 80p – a new recent low. This is, naturally, just what we British wish to hear as the holiday season begins, but it is less appealing to our exporters and says more about expectations for the European economy.

Much is made of German views mellowing, but the sheer complexity of finding a way through the morass of sovereign legislation to even begin to develop a cohesive solution to the debt problem looks daunting to say the least.

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: : Brian Tora is an associate with investment managers JM Finn & Co

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