FTSE 100 preview: Trade worries and ex-divs to weigh on index

Activist investor wants to play role in search for Barclays chair

FTSE 100 preview: Trade worries and ex-divs to weigh on index

The FTSE 100 looks set to open lower this morning, pressured by renewed US-China trade worries, as well as a string of companies going ex-dividend today. Barclays (LON:BARC) will be in focus today amid reports that Sherborne Investors wants to play a role in the lender’s search for a new chair.

Index seen lower

IG’s opening calls suggest that the Footsie will start Thursday’s session 0.24 percent in the red at 7,758 points. In the US, shares were subdued last night after China announced tariffs on US goods.

“This market has been able to look beyond trade tensions and look at fundamentals, but those fundamentals sort of run out of steam this week,” Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR, commented, as quoted by CNBC. “We slipped into a catalyst vacuum, which could push trade tensions back into the fore.” Asian shares, however, have been steady this morning, with China outperforming the region.

In the UK, the FTSE 100 rose in the previous session, gaining 58.17 points to close 0.75 percent higher at 7,776.65, benefitting from a drop in sterling. Prudential (LON:PRU) was the session’s biggest riser in percentage terms, adding 3.67 percent to 1,822.00p, after posting its half-year results.

Thursday’s calendar

There are no major macroeconomic releases out of Europe to guide the market this morning. In the US, the nation’s producer price index for July will be announced at 13:30 BST.

Blue-chips reporting today include G4S (LON:GFS), Legal & General (LON:LGEN) and Randgold Resources (LON:RRS). In other company news, The Times reports that Sherborne Investors, which has been pushing Barclays to close parts of its investment bank, has said that it is ‘engaging’ with the group in the lender’s search for a successor to chairman John McFarlane.

FTSE 100 companies, whose shares are going ex-dividend today, include AstraZeneca (LON:AZN), Barclays (LON:BARC), BP (LON:BP), BT Group (LON:BT), Diageo (LON:DGE), Direct Line (LON:DLG), Fresnillo (LON:FRES), GlaxoSmithKline (LON:GSK), Informa (LON:INF), Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSA, LON:RDSB), Rio Tinto (LON:RIO), Rentokil (LON:RTO) and Standard Chartered (LON:STAN). Reuters’ calculations suggest that ex-divs will knock 39.04 points off the Footsie.

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