FTSE 100 preview: Index seen little changed amid Saudi tensions

AstraZeneca could keep freeze on UK investments

FTSE 100 preview: Index seen little changed amid Saudi tensions

The FTSE 100 looks set to open little changed this morning, with investors monitoring tensions between Saudi Arabia and the West, which have weighed on Asian shares. On the corporate front, AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) has signalled that it will keep its freeze on UK investment should there be no clarity over the country’s pending departure from the European Union.

Footsie seen flat

CNBC reports that the UK benchmark index is seen opening around four points lower at 7,025, according to IG. In Asia, shares have posted modest gains this morning, with investors focusing on this month’s disappearance of a prominent journalist critical of Saudi Arabia’s policies. US President Donald Trump meanwhile has Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the oil-rich kingdom over the case, the BBC reports.

“The focus of the markets has turned to the Middle East due to the Saudi incident,” Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management, told Reuters, adding that with “US stocks still struggling, other equity markets will have a difficult time bouncing convincingly”. US stocks fell last night, pressured by the tech sector.

“You have an oversold condition and the market knows it should try to find a bottom,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist at SlateStone Wealth, as quoted by CNBC.

At home, the Footsie rose in the previous session, gaining 33.31 points to close 0.48 percent higher at 7,029.22, with the pound slipping on the back of a deadlock in the talks between the UK and the EU.

Tuesday’s releases

Today’s macroeconomic releases include UK employment data due out at 09:30 BST, to be followed by Germany’s ZEW economic sentiment index for October at 10:00 BST. On the corporate front, Pearson (LON:PSON) and Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) are scheduled to post results.

In other company news, Reuters reports that AstraZeneca’s chairman has told France’s Le Monde newspaper that the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker will keep its freeze on manufacturing investments in the UK if the country’s exit from the EU fails to give enough clarity on future trading relations.

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