FTSE 100 preview: Index seen steady after G20 meeting

Unilever poised to announce multibillion pound disposal programme

FTSE 100 preview: Index seen steady after G20 meeting

The UK benchmark index looks set to start the week marginally higher following mixed leads from the US and Asia and with investors digesting the outcome of a meeting of G20 finance ministers. Unilever (LON:ULVR) will be in focus on the corporate front today amid reports that it is poised to announce a multibillion-pound disposal programme.

IG’s opening calls suggest that the FTSE 100 will start the day six points higher at 7,431. In the US, stocks closed mixed on Friday, with investors continuing to digest the Federal Reserve’s decision to hike interest rates.

“I think we’re getting in and out of a very hectic week in terms of catalysts and into one that’s less catalyst-filled,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, as quoted by CNBC.

Asian shares meanwhile have also been mixed this morning, amid investor focus on a G20 finance ministers meeting in Germany. Reuters reported that Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had defended free trade, calling for a trade deal between Japan and the European Union and distancing themselves from protectionist rhetoric coming from the Trump administration.

“Essentially (the G20 outcome was) a result of the US protectionist stance, something Trump has been very clear on and the market is well aware of this,” James Woods, global investment analyst at Rivkin Securities, told the newswire.

The Footsie closed little changed on Friday, adding 9.01 points to end the session 0.21 percent higher at a record 7,424.96. The index’s gains, however, were capped by a stronger pound.

There are no major macroeconomic releases out of Europe to provide direction this morning, and no blue-chip companies are scheduled to update investors on their performance. In corporate news, The Times reports that Unilever is gearing up to announce a possible multibillion-pound disposal programme for some of its largest brands next month amid shareholder criticism following Kraft Heinz’s aborted bid for the business last month. In other news, Reuters notes that Prime Minister Theresa May will visit Wales today as part of a plan to engage with all the nations of the United Kingdom before she formally triggers the Brexit process.

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