FTSE 100 preview: Index to start July on the back foot

Marks & Spence targeted by short-sellers

FTSE 100 preview: Index to start July on the back foot

The FTSE 100 looks set to open lower this morning, starting the new month and the third quarter of the year in negative territory, pressured by a downbeat lead from Asia. Marks & Spencer Group (LON:MKS) will be in focus on the corporate front today, amid reports that it has been targeted by short-sellers.

Downbeat start ahead

IG’s opening calls suggest that the FTSE 100 will start the month 0.65 percent in the red at 7,587 points. The blue-chip index looks set to take cues from Asia where shares have retreated this morning with the worries over the trade tensions between the US and China continuing in the third quarter. CNBC reports that US tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese products are expected to take effect on July 6, with China set to retaliate with duties of its own on the same value of American goods. US shares meanwhile rose on Friday, while still posting a loss for the week.

In the UK, the Footsie ended the quarter on an upbeat note, adding 21.30 points to close 0.28 percent higher at 7,636.93 on Friday. Reuters reports that while the blue-chip index ended June with a modest 0.5 percent loss, the second quarter of the year shaped up to be the FTSE 100’s best since 2013’s first quarter with an over eight-percent gain.

Monday’s agenda

Today’s macroeconomic releases include the UK manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for June, due out at 09:30 BST. IG reports that the PMI is expected to have fallen to 53.5 last month, from 54.4. The eurozone’s unemployment rate for May will be announced at 10:00 BST, while in the US, the nation’s manufacturing PMI for June is out at 15:00 BST. There are no blue-chips scheduled to update investors on their performance this morning.

In company news, The Times reports that hedge funds have placed an £800 million bet against Marks & Spencer amid a turbulent time for the high street.

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