FTSE 100 preview: Muted start ahead as Brexit stays in focus

on Mar 21, 2017

The UK benchmark index looks set to open little changed this morning, following mixed leads from the US and Asia, and after Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed yesterday that she would trigger Article 50 on March 29, kicking off the process of leaving the European Union. Tesco (LON:TSCO) will be in focus on the corporate front amid reports that the company is still paying staff at OneStop less and charging customers more for products than in its Tesco Express outlets.

IG’s opening calls suggest that the Footsie will start the day one point higher at 7,431. Brexit is set to remain in focus today with investors digesting news that Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50 next week, with the move putting pressure on the pound yesterday.
Stocks on the other side of the Atlantic closed mixed last night, following comments from Federal Reserve officials after the US central bank raised rates last week. CNBC reported that Chicago Fed President Charles Evans had said that the Fed would wait until June to decide on the next rate hike.

“Investors want to know what the Fed has to say about the next rate hike,” Adam Sarhan, CEO of 50 Park Investments, told the newswire. “That’s going to be the headline this week.” Asian shares have also been mixed this morning.
At home, the Footsie closed little changed yesterday, adding 4.85 points to end the session 0.07 percent higher at 7,429.81, following the confirmation that ‘divorce’ proceedings with the EU will be triggered next week.

Today’s macroeconomic releases include the UK consumer price index (CPI) for February, due out at 09:30 GMT. IG reports that the nation’s CPI is expected to have climbed to 2.1 percent year-on-year from 1.8 percent, and to 0.3 percent month-on-month from a fall of 0.5 percent.
There are no blue-chips scheduled to update investors on their performance this morning. In other news, The Times reports that nearly 15 years after Tesco bought OneStop, the blue-chip grocer is still paying staff at the convenience chain less and charging customers more for products than in its Tesco Express outlets, with the revelation coming after the group recently unveiled a merger with Booker Group.

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