Mike van Dulken and Artjom Hatsaturjants at Accendo Markets, commented to clients this morning:
FTSE 100 Index called to open flat at 7458, holding its break above August’s trendline of falling highs, maintaining last week’s bullish reversal and rally from 5-month lows. Bulls need a break above 7465 overnight highs, Bears a breach of 7440 intersecting support. Watch levels: Bullish 7465, Bearish 7430
Calls for a flat open come after US markets retreated from record highs courtesy of yet more political instability in Washington with conflicting reports that President Trump is set to fire Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, who is guiding special prosecutor Mueller’s Russian investigation.
Negativity about aborted US-China trade talks also persisted into Asian trading, with Japan the lone bright spot (back from holiday) thanks to supportive macro data and more hawkish comments from the Bank of Japan overnight.
With world leaders gathering in New York for the UN General Assembly, UK PM May is planning to discuss a UK-US post-Brexit free trade agreement with President Trump. Oil prices have rallied to fresh 4-year highs on supply constraints while, but Gold lacks impetus, fluctuating around $1,200.
In corporate news this morning Next H1 full price sales +4.5% (+3.9% incl. markdown) beats guidance, flattered by hot summer; ups FY19 pre-tax guidance by 1.4%; div +3.8%; Cautious on rest of year; UK volatile, store sales challenging (retail -6.9%; online +16.8%); headwinds not abated.
Imperial Brands says FY18 results (6 Nov) will deliver constant currency revenue and earnings in line with guidance range; 3% FX impact; Cost savings ahead. British American Tobacco names Jack Bowles CEO, to succeed Nicandro Durante from April 2019. Comcast has acquired 29.1% of Sky shares at the 1728p offer price.
Glencore doubles $1bn buyback (nearly complete) to almost $2bn, and extends to Feb 2019. SSE backs H1 views, expects recommendation of 97.5p FY19 div; acquires 50% of Seagreen Wind Energy (from Flour) for £118m. Reuters reports Standard Chartered saying it will stop financing new coal-fired power plants to support the Paris climate accord, joining similar earlier sustainable commitments by HSBC.
Card Factory H1 revenue +3.2% YoY, underlying EBITDA -8.9%, underlying pre-tax profit -13.9%. Cost headwinds (FX, labour) and low footfall hurt underlying margins. Guidance and dividend unchanged. Close Bros FY adjusted operating profit +4%, div +5%; Loan book +6%, assets +10%.
AG Barr H1 revenue +5.5% YoY, pre-tax profit -6.1% (+4% pre-exceptional), dividend +5%. FY profits guidance reiterated. Amerisur Resources says Pintadillo-1 well N Sands dry, but potentially commercial hydrocarbon bearing reservoir confirmed in T and U sands.
WANdisco selected by global automotive and truck manufacturer to deploy its live data platform, WANdisco Fusion; worth $200K annually now, but potentially worth multi-millions per annum.
In focus today will be US S&P Case Shiller House Prices (2pm) for July, with consensus pencilling in a repeat of the 0.5% MoM/6.2% YoY reported in June. Away from that, the only data of real significance is Richmond Fed (2pm) and US Consumer Confidence (3pm) with small declines expected for both. US API Oil Inventories (9.30pm) are highly topical with barrel prices so high.
As for speakers, ECB Chief Economist Praet speaks twice in London (9.10am and 11.45am), the Bank of England’s Vlieghe (9.40am) talks at Imperial College Business School, the ECB’s Coeure speaks twice in the afternoon (3.40pm, 5pm).