FTSE 100 preview: Index expected to open slightly lower as Eurogroup meeting looms

on Feb 20, 2015
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The FTSE 100 Index is seen opening slightly lower today amid uncertainty over the debt negotiations between Greece and its eurozone creditors. A loan extension proposal submitted by Greece’s finance minister Yanis Varoufakis was dismissed by Germany with the argument that it “does not meet the criteria agreed by the Eurogroup on Monday”. The Eurogroup of finance ministers from the shared-currency bloc is set to meet today in Brussels to discuss Greece’s plan.

The Footsie yesterday closed 0.13 percent, or 9.18 points, higher at 6,888.90. Britain’s benchmark equity index is expected to open around six points lower today.
US markets proved quite resilient yesterday in the face of lower oil prices and Germany’s rejection of Greece’s loan extension plan. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 closed down 0.24 percent and 0.11 percent, respectively, evading bigger losses. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index finished the trading session with a 0.37 percent gain.

“I take today away as a positive from the perspective that there was a lot of bad news thrown at the market,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management, as quoted by CNBC. “The market’s been able to recover from that.”
In today’s Asian trading session, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index continued its advance, ending 0.37 percent higher at 18,332.30 points. Markets in China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia remained shut for the Lunar New Year holiday.

On the data front, a slew of economic releases are due out today, including UK retail sales data for January at 09:30 UTC. Also, Germany will release PPI figures for January at 07:00 UTC and Italy will publish industrial new orders and sales figures for December and inflation data for January at 09:00 UTC and 10:00 UTC, respectively. Markit PMI data for Germany, France and the eurozone as a whole will also be released during the day. In terms of corporate releases, Standard Life Plc (LON:SL) is scheduled to publish full-year results prior to the start of today’s trading session in London.

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