The UK benchmark index looks set to open higher this morning, extending the previous session’s gains and holding steady ahead of a rate decision by the Bank of England (BoE) later today. On the corporate front, Wm Morrison Supermarkets (LON:MRW) is scheduled to update investors on its first-quarter performance. Reuters meanwhile reports that Royal Bank of Scotland Group (LON:RBS) has agreed to pay $4.9 billion to resolve a US Department of Justice probe into its structuring and sale of mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the financial crisis.
Index to open higher
IG’s opening calls suggest that the FTSE 100 will start today’s session 0.22 percent higher at 7,680 points. In the US, shares rose, finding support in the energy sector following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the country from the Iran nuclear deal.
“Clearly, this is playing out in the energy sector,” said Bill Northey, senior vice president at US Bank Wealth Management, as quoted by CNBC. “But you’ve also got interest rates rising. That’s impacting the rate-sensitive sectors of the market.” Asian shares have tracked the US higher this morning.
In the UK, the Footsie surged yesterday adding 96.77 points to end the session 1.28 percent higher at 7,662.52, also boosted by a rise in energy shares which tracked oil prices higher following Trump’s move.
Thursday’s macroeconomic calendar includes the UK trade balance for March at 09:30 BST. The BoE rate decision is scheduled to be announced at noon and IG reports that the bank is expected to leaves rates at 0.5 percent, after Mark Carney’s recent comments changed the market’s expectations. In the US, the nation’s consumer price index for April will be announced at 13:30 BST.
Today’s company releases include Morrisons’ first-quarter update, with the blue-chip grocer expected to reveal slower sales growth. Other blue-chips reporting today include BT Group (LON:BT.A), Next (LON:NXT), RSA Insurance (LON:RSA), Barratt Developments (LON:BDEV) and ITV (LON:ITV).
Blue-chips, whose shares will be trading without the attraction of their latest payout, include Admiral Group (LON:ADM), BP (LON:BP), Centrica (LON:CNA), The Sage Group (LON:SGE) and heavyweights GlaxoSmithKline (LON:GSK) and Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSA, LON:RDSB). Reuters’ calculations suggest that ex-divs will knock 22.9 points off the FTSE 100.