The UK benchmark index looks set to start the last trading day of the month marginally higher, amid easing concerns over the political situation in Italy. In company news, The Times reports that Ewen Stevenson, the outgoing chief financial officer of Royal Bank of Scotland Group (LON:RBS), has been interviewed by HSBC Holdings (LON:HSBA), which is searching for a new finance director.
FTSE 100 seen steady
Reuters reports that according to financial bookmakers, the Footsie is seen opening four points higher at 7,693 points. The blue-chip index is likely to take cues from the US, where shares rose last night as fears over the situation in Italy eased, while Italian two-year bond yields fell.
“I think there’s certainly potential for problems [in Italy], but there’s nothing necessarily new here [...] the odds of Italy leaving the EU are very remote,” said Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Baird, as quoted by CNBC. “What we’re seeing this year is a consolidation of what took place in 2017, when the market virtually went straight up.” Asian shares have also recovered this morning, tracking the US higher.
At home, the Footsie gained 56.93 points to end the session 0.75 percent higher at 7,689.57, finding support in stronger oil, which fuelled demand for Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSA) and BP (LON:BP).
Investors have a lot to look out for on the macroeconomic front today, with April unemployment and flash May inflation data for the eurozone due out at 10:00 BST. On the other side of the Atlantic, Canada’s first-quarter gross domestic product will be announced at 13:30 BST, to be followed by US personal income spending data for April at 13:30 BST. Chicago’s purchasing managers’ index for May is due out at 14:45 BST, while pending home sales data for April will follow at 15:00 BST.
Blue-chips, whose shares will be trading without the attraction of their latest dividend in today’s session, include Marks & Spencer (LON:MKS), National Grid (LON:NG) and Taylor Wimpey (LON:TW). Reuters’ calculations suggest that ex-divs will knock 6.05 points off the Footsie.