FTSE 100 Index called to open +5pts at 7355, but back from overnight highs of 7370, checked by intersecting falling highs resistance since end-November. Bulls need a break back above 7370; Bears require a breach of yesterday late lows of 7336. Watch levels: Bullish 7370, Bearish 7336.
Calls for a tepid start come after a mixed finish on Wall St where Tech names were back in favour following the recent sell-off. This helped foster a more positive performance in Asia overnight (Japan outperforming on weaker Yen), although China remained weak after an IMF report suggesting banks need to raise capital, reviving slowdown fears.
While a stronger USD on tax reforms hopes helps the FTSE via weaker reciprocal GBP, note oil remains under pressure (bearish flag?) following yesterday’s US gasoline inventory inspired sell-off. This may keep a lid on the FTSE’s Energy heavyweights. Note Copper prices also pressured by a stronger USD, which may hamper FTSE Miners.
In corporate news, Ladbrokes Coral and GVC in detailed discussions, GVC offering 18.5-50% premium for 46.5% share of new co. Legal & General on track for record year for earnings and profits. Coca-Cola HBC appoints Zoran Bogdanovic (currently a regional director) as new CEO.
RELX to buy-back up to £100m in shares Jan to mid-Feb to reduce capital. DS Smith confident about outlook, H1 exceeded medium term targets, raises dividend. HSS Hire offers new 2020 targets; focus on deleverage, repair tool hire business, strengthen commercial position.
US equity markets finished mixed, with the Tech-focused Nasdaq outperforming as Facebook rallied after a broker upgrade, while both the Dow Jones and S&P 500 closed shy of breakeven. The Dow saw large cap Financial and Retail names weigh, while gains for Tech on the S&P were not enough to offset weakness amongst Energy names.
Crude Oil prices are little changed overnight following yesterday’s sharp price fall on the back of US gasoline inventories rising almost four times more than expectations, offsetting a larger than expected draw in headline crude inventories. Brent holds above support at $61.6 after retreating from overnight highs of $62, while West Texas trades at $55.8 from overnight highs of $56.1.
Gold has fallen below $1260 for the first time since August, extending its December downtrend overnight as the US dollar trades a 2-week high.
In focus today will be UK Halifax House Prices (8.30am) expected to show slightly slower growth in November that may impact the FTSE Housebuilders and Retailers given the implications for consumer confidence. Thereafter, the final reading for Eurozone Q3 GDP is seen confirming slower sequential growth (average since Q4), but an acceleration on the annual pace (fastest since Q1’11),
In the run-up to tomorrow’s US Jobs report, there may be some interest in the Challenger Job cuts report for November, although the annual change in growth can be rather volatile. US Jobless Claims are forecast to show initial claims holding around their 8-week average, while continuing claims reverse all of last week’s jump, and more, to return to their 10-week average.
There’s always the chance that UK PM May has to dash to Brussels, and that we hear more on those tricky negotiations with the EU on Brexit. Otherwise, the only speakers are ECB President Mario Draghi (4pm), chairing a BIS press conference, and the Fed’s Dudley (1.30pm), making introductory remarks at a "Higher Education Financing and Costs and Returns of Higher Education" conference.