The UK benchmark index looks set to start today’s session higher, following comments by US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen who flagged a rate hike next month. Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSA) will be in focus amid continuing legal woes in relation to the group’s operation in Nigeria.
IG’s opening calls suggest that the Footsie will start the day 26 points higher at 7,294. The blue-chip index is likely to take cues from the US where shares surged last night following Janet Yellen’s testimony, as she signalled a potential rate hike as soon as the Fed’s next meeting.
“It was expected of her to be a little hawkish,” Adam Sarhan, CEO of 50 Park Investments, told CNBC. “From her perspective, the stock market is at all-time highs and the economic data is improving, so it’s very prudent for her to be hawkish.” Asian shares have tracked the US higher this morning.
The Footsie inched lower yesterday, shedding 10.36 points to end the session 0.14 percent lower at 7,268.56. Rolls-Royce Holdings (LON:RR) proved a drag on the index after posting a record loss for 2016. The engine maker’s shares closed 3.99 percent in the red at 710.50p.
Today’s macroeconomic releases include UK unemployment data, due out at 09:30 GMT. IG reports that January’s claimant count is expected to have climbed by 7,000 from from a 10,100 fall a month earlier, while December’s unemployment rate is expected to have climbed to five percent from 4.8 percent. On the other side of the Atlantic, the US consumer price index for January is scheduled to be released at 13:30 GMT.
In corporate news, Reuters reports that Shell has received notice of a request for indictment related to a 2011 settlement of long-standing disputes over an offshore block in Nigeria.