FTSE 100 preview: Downbeat start on the cards ahead of budget statement

Investors eye latest developments in GKN takeover saga

FTSE 100 preview: Downbeat start on the cards ahead of budget statement

The FTSE 100 looks set to open lower this morning, extending the previous session’s losses ahead of today’s budget statement. On the corporate front, investors will eye the latest developments in the GKN (LON:GKN) takeover saga after the engineering group rejected Melrose Industries’ (LON:MRO) latest takeover offer.

Index to open lower

IG’s opening calls suggest that Britain’s blue-chip index will start the session 0.13 percent in the red at 7,205 points. Investors are likely to stay on the sidelines ahead of Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond’s Spring Statement later today, and Reuters reports that Britain’s finance minister is expected to announce a modest improvement in the country’s slow economic growth outlook in the run-up to Brexit, raising the prospect that he might relax his grip on public spending later this year.

In the US, shares closed in the red amid ongoing trade war concerns, with President Donald Trump implementing tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

“It’s a growing concern that a mistake in trade policy could be as big as a mistake in monetary policy,” Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR, told CNBC. Asian shares meanwhile have been mixed this morning.

In the UK, the Footsie closed little changed yesterday, shedding 9.75 points to end the session 0.13 percent lower at 7,214.76p, pegged back by resource stocks which tracked metals and crude prices lower.

Tuesday’s agenda

Today’s main macroeconomic event is the Spring Statement at 12:30 GMT. In the US, the nation’s consumer price index for February is also scheduled to be announced at 12:30 GMT. On the corporate front, Antofagasta (LON:ANTO) is scheduled to update investors on its performance.

In other news, The Times reports that Aviva Investors, a top 25 shareholder in GKN, had backed Melrose’s proposed hostile takeover of the FTSE 100 group.

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