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Morning Market Pulse - Astra JV gets credit from Fitch

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Mike van Dulken at Accendo Markets, commented to clients this morning:

FTSE 100 called to open flat at 7390, holding yesterday’s breakout above 7370. Bulls need meaningful progress beyond 7405 overnight highs to extend the current rally towards 7560, the ceiling of a 3-month up-channel. Bears require a breach of 7370 to put the short-term rising trend in jeopardy. Watch levels: Bullish 7415, Bearish 7370

Calls for a flat open come after a mixed closed on Wall Street and despite gains in Asia overnight, following a big improvement in China PMI Services. Reports that the US and China have ironed out most of their differences in trade negotiations also helped maintain this week’s bullishness.

FTSE held back by GBP rebound after the PM offered to work with Labour on Brexit and ask the EU 27 for another Article 50 extension. Oil prices keep nudging higher amid supply concerns. Copper bouncing after China data. Watch FTSE dual-listed Miners which were +2% in Australia overnight.

In corporate news this morning;

Fitch says AstraZeneca’s collaboration with Daiichi Sankyo and recent equity issue have improved its credit profile. S&P downgrades Centrica’s credit rating to BBB from BBB+; outlook Stable.

Shell says its exploration and production companies paid the Nigerian Government over $6.4bn in 2018, up 48% versus 2017. SSE pays £700,000 fine for missing UK smart meter installation targets.

Bovis Homes completes JV with Riverside to deliver 3,600 social homes, delivering in excess of £250m optimisation initiatives from its balance sheet. Babcock confirms Ruth Cairnie as chairwoman (from Rolls Royce) from 18 July.

Stagecoach ups group profits guidance after strong trading and progress in UK Rail. UK Estate Agents may be sensitive to Winkworth 2018 Pretax profits +5.5% on 10% revenue growth with rentals +8% offsetting home sales -4% (-6% in London).

AA 2018 pre-tax profits -62%, EBITDA -13%, revenues +2%; final div flat, but full year div -60% after investments hampered shareholder returns; still targeting return to growth with strong free cash flow. Wins breakdown assistance contract with Admiral in strategic partnership (4.3m customers).

Quilter subsidiary Intrinsic makes 33p/£46m share cash offer for Lighthouse Group (25% premium). Topps Tiles expects first half like-for-like revenue growth nearly flat. Photo-Me cuts FY 2019 guidance; UK slowdown from consumer uncertainty; other regions in-line.

In focus today:

The fallout from the UK PM's pivot towards the opposition party for help in getting a Brexit deal ratified in Parliament, with an extension from Europe, to avoid a no-deal crash out next week.

Investors will be interested in whether European PMI Services (8-9.30am) will be as ugly as Manufacturing was on Monday. The UK may also show a decline after impressing on Monday. Eurozone Retail Sales (10am) may also post a slowdown in Feb after January's strong rebound.

US ADP jobs report (1.15pm) could offer the usual warm up for Friday's Non-Farm Payrolls, while US PMI Manufacturing (2.45pm) and ISM Non-Manufacturing (3pm) may add to recent Chinese and US data with solid, albeit lower, figures to support bullish investor sentiment.

 

Speakers today include the Fed's Bostic (1.30pm)and Kashkari (10pm).

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