FTSE 100 preview: Index seen subdued ahead of company results

on Feb 24, 2017

The UK benchmark index looks set to start the last trading day of the week marginally lower, following lacklustre leads from the US and Asia and with investors awaiting corporate releases. The earnings season continues with a string of blue-chips, including Royal Bank of Scotland Group (LON:RBS) which is expected to post another full-year loss.

IG’s opening calls suggest that the Footsie will start the session four points lower at 7,267. In the US, stocks closed mixed last night, with investors digesting remarks by newly-appointed Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who said in an interview with CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box’ that he wants to see ‘very significant’ tax reform passed before Congress’ August recess.
“Investors want to see more details,” Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones, told the newswire. “Investors are a little more cautious, but I wouldn’t take this as a major shift” in market direction. Asian stocks meanwhile have traded mostly lower this morning.

At home, the FTSE 100 lost ground yesterday, shedding 30.88 points to end the session 0.42 percent lower at 7,271.37, pressured by shares going ex-dividend and with investors digesting a string of corporate releases. A drop in Barclays (LON:BARC) also weighed on the index, with the lender’s shares giving up early gains and closing 2.6 percent in the red. Reuters quoted analysts as pointing to potential litigation costs.

There are no major macroeconomic releases out of Europe to provide direction this morning. On the corporate front, RBS is expected to post another full-year loss, having recently unveiled a hefty charge for a potential settlement with US authorities over mis-sold mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the financial crisis. Other blue-chip companies reporting today include StanChart (LON:STAN), Standard Life (LON:SL), Pearson (LON:PSON) and British Airways parent International Consolidated Airlines Group (LON:IAG).

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