FTSE 100 Index called to open +40pts at 7690, extending Wednesday’s rebound, close to challenging July’s highs again. Bulls need a break above 7713 July week’s highs; Bears require a breach of 7675 overnight resistance turned support. Watch levels: Bullish 7713, Bearish 7675.
Calls for a positive open come after a strong finish on Wall St and a largely positive session in Asia overnight, Tech pushing the US Nasdaq to another record high as global trade tensions recede, China held off from matching Trump’s $200bn tariff threat and China trade data beat estimates.
Chinese growth data, however, is a double-edged sword, supportive of global growth but backing up Trump’s trade grievances; exports accelerated more than expected (11.3% vs. 10% est.) and imports slowed significantly (+14.1% vs. +20.9% est.). A bigger Chinese trade surplus may well be supportive of FTSE Miners, although copper prices are off their best amid USD strength, and note dual-listed Miners in the red in Australia overnight.
USD strength versus peers, and corresponding Sterling weakness is helping the FTSE, amplified by Donald Trump’s comments about PM May’s “soft” Brexit White Paper jeopardise the UK and its hoped-for US-UK trade deal. Oil prices mostly flat, consolidating after Wednesday’s big drop, while gold is likewise muted as investors grew bolder and risk appetite continues to recover.
In corporate news this morning, Antofagasta sells Centinela Transmisión electricity transmission lines for $117m. DCC acquires two businesses for £110m; Q1 in-line, reiterates full year outlook. Experian says Q1 in-line (revenues +10%, +8% organic), backs full year guidance. Ashmore Q2 AUM -$2.6bn (-3%) with $2.6bn net inflows overshadowed by $5.2bn investment declines.
Halfords announces new CFO Loraine Woodhouse, previously of John Lewis, Hobbs, Capital Shopping Centres (now INTU), Costa, Kingfisher. Hays Q4 net fees +15% like-for-like; expects full-year operating profit marginally ahead of market expectations. Workspace Q1 average monthly enquiries -8.1% QoQ (-3.2% YoY) and lettings -4.3% (-7.4% YoY).
International Personal Finance expects 2018 pre-tax profits to better consensus by 10%. Ryanair pilots are planning two one-day strikes for later this month, Reuters reported late yesterday. Brokers Macquarie and RBC suggest Rio Tinto investors will want some of the proceeds of its $3.5bn Grasberg stake sale earmarked for capital returns and ask when/what it will buy next.
In focus today will be digestion of President Trump’s less-than-diplomatic assessment of UK politics, the PM and her dealings with Brexit negotiations, making this morning’s reception at Chequers (and the Queen this afternoon) a little awkward. Thereafter, US Banks report Q2 results late-morning through early-afternoon, with potential read-across to European peers.
This afternoon, US Import Price Inflation (1.30pm) could have a bearing on Fed policy expectations and, in turn, USD-sensitive assets. The Bank of England’s Cunliffe (12pm) speaks to the Cumbrian Chamber of Commerce, with the possibility of hints on MPC interest rate policy direction moving GBP.