FTSE 100 preview: Index seen steady after upbeat leads

Barclays planning hires at European equities business

FTSE 100 preview: Index seen steady after upbeat leads

The FTSE 100 looks set to start the last trading day of the week on the front foot, taking cues from the US and Asia. On the corporate front, Barclays (LON:BARC) is reportedly planning to boost its European equities team.

IG’s opening calls suggest that the Footsie will start the day 0.18 percent higher at 7,131 points. The blue-chip index is likely to take cues from the US, where shares rose last night as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin signalled that the administration was close to ‘major tax reform,’ as reported by CNBC. Asian shares have also advanced this morning, tracking the US higher. Geopolitical jitters, however, are likely to continue to weigh on sentiment, following a suspected terrorist shooting in Paris ahead of the first round of France’s presidential election over the weekend.

At home, the Footsie steadied yesterday, adding 4.18 points to end the session 0.06 percent higher at 7,118.54. The index has been under pressure this week, after Prime Minister Theresa May called for a snap election in June, with the news boosting sterling.

“The inverse correlation of FTSE with sterling is logical because of the overseas earnings of the FTSE, so if sterling continues to move, that will have a significant effect on that trade-off between large, international companies and more domestic companies,” said Simon Gergel, CIO for UK Equities at Allianz Global Investors, as quoted by Reuters.

Today’s macroeconomic releases include the flash April manufacturing purchasing managers’ indices (PMIs) for France, Germany and the eurozone, due out between 08:00 BST and 09:00 BST. The UK retail sales for March meanwhile are scheduled to be released at 09:30 BST and IG notes that they are forecast to have climbed 3.4 percent year-on-year but to have dipped by 0.8 percent month-on-month. On the other side of the Atlantic, the US flash manufacturing PMI for April is due out at 14:45 BST, to be followed by the nation’s existing home sales data for March at 15:00 BST.

On the corporate front, Reckitt Benckiser (LON:RB) is scheduled to update investors on its first-quarter performance. In other news, Bloomberg reports that Barclays plans to recruit more than 20 staff this year to bolster its European equities trading business.

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