FTSE 100 preview: Index seen little changed after rally

Marks & Spencer’s marketing boss quits

FTSE 100 preview: Index seen little changed after rally

The FTSE 100 looks set to open marginally higher this morning, extending the previous session’s strong gains, following upbeat leads from the US and Asia. Mark & Spencer Group (LON:MKS) will stay in focus today with the latest senior executive announcing plans to leave the company.

Index seen marginally higher

IG’s opening calls suggest that the FTSE 100 will start the session 0.08 percent higher at 7,323 points. The blue-chip index is again set to take cues from the US where the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose last night, while the Dow closed lower as investors digested company releases.

“These are just slam dunk earnings,” said Nick Raich, CEO of The Earnings Scout, as quoted by CNBC. “If you want to be bearish on stocks, don’t look to earnings.” Asian shares have also advanced this morning, finding support in stronger oil.

At home, the Footsie rallied in the previous session, adding 91.09 points to close 1.26 percent higher at 7,317.34, finding support in a weaker pound.

Thursday’s calendar

Today’s macroeconomic statements include UK retail sales data for March, due out at 09:30 BST, with IG reporting that sales are forecast to have climbed 0.4 percent month-on-month and 1.2 percent year-on-year, from 0.6 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively. In the US, the Philadelphia Fed index for April is out at 13:30 BST.

On the corporate front, investors will look out for updates by Sky (LON:SKY), Unilever (LON:ULVR), Rentokil (LON:RTO), Evraz (LON:EVR) and BHP Billiton (LON:BLT), with the earnings season picking up speed. In other news, Marks & Spencer’s marketing boss Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne announced on Twitter that he is leaving the blue-chip retailer at the end of next month.

FTSE 100 companies, whose shares will be trading without the attraction of their latest dividend in today’s session, include BAE Systems (LON:BA), Barratt Developments (LON:BDEV), Croda (LON:CRDA), Informa (LON:INF), Lloyds (LON:LLOY) and Standard Life Aberdeen (LON:SLA). Reuters’ calculations suggest that ex-divs will knock 9.79 points off the Footsie.

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