FTSE 100 preview: Index seen flat ahead of ECB meeting

RBS in focus as lawmaker calls for release of report on GRG

FTSE 100 preview: Index seen flat ahead of ECB meeting

The UK benchmark index looks set to start the morning little changed, as investors await news from the European Central Bank (ECB). Royal Bank of Scotland Group (LON:RBS) will be in focus on the corporate front, as a lawmaker urged for the publication of a report on the company’s controversial turnaround division.

IG’s opening calls suggest that the FTSE 100 will start the day at 7,354 points, flat in percentage terms, with investors likely to stay on the sidelines ahead of the ECB decision. Reuters reports that President Mario Draghi is set to start laying the groundwork for stimulus reduction, giving investors some hints but probably holding off on any major commitment.

In the US, stocks closed higher last night, after two top Democratic leaders said that President Donald Trump would support a debt ceiling extension and government funding plan, as reported by CNBC. Asian shares meanwhile have climbed higher this morning, taking cues from the US.

The FTSE 100 lost 18.79 points to close 0.25 percent lower at 7,354.13 yesterday, pressured by ongoing geopolitical tensions. Barratt Developments (LON:BDEV), whose full-year results disappointed investors, was the session’s biggest faller in percentage terms, closing 4.57 percent in the red at 595.50p.

Today’s macroeconomic releases include the third estimate of the eurozone’s second-quarter gross domestic product, due out at 10:00 BST. The ECB rate decision is scheduled to be announced at 12:45 BST, to be followed by the traditional press conference at 13:30 BST. In company news, The Times reports that Nicky Morgan, chairwoman of the Treasury select committee, had said in a letter to the Financial Conduct Authority that its report into RBS’ global restructuring group should be published after being leaked last month.

Blue-chips, whose shares will be trading without the attraction of their latest dividend in today’s session, include Admiral Group (LON:ADM), Antofagasta (LON:ANTO), BHP Billiton (LON:BLT), CRH (LON:CRH), ConvaTec (LON:CTEC), Glencore (LON:GLEN), Land Securities (LON:LAND), RSA Insurance (LON:RSA), Shire (LON:SHP) and Standard Life Aberdeen (LON:ADN). Reuters calculations suggest that ex-divs will knock 6.5 points off the FTSE 100. 

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