FTSE 100 preview: Index looking up as Trump policies stay in focus

on Mar 23, 2017
Updated: Mar 11, 2020

The UK benchmark index looks set to open higher this morning, regaining some of the ground lost in the previous session, amid renewed optimism about US President Donald Trump’s policies. On the corporate front, Next (LON:NXT) is scheduled to update investors on its full-year performance.

IG’s opening calls suggest that the FTSE 100 will start the day six points higher at 7,331. Stocks on the other side of the Atlantic closed mixed last night, with investors awaiting developments on the healthcare reform, while Asian stocks have inched higher this morning.
“The vote on Obamacare is a litmus test for Trump,” Masafumi Yamamoto, chief forex strategist at Mizuho Securities, told Reuters. “If he can’t push through the bill, it would further damage stocks. It also raises the risk of his other policies, like tax cuts, being delayed.”

At home, the Footsie shed 53.62 points to end the session 0.73 percent lower at 7,324.72, pressured by Trump policy concerns, and little moved by the afternoon attack on Westminster. The pound meanwhile dipped briefly.
“Maybe the market is not viewing this as sufficiently sizeable to hit the radar,” said Neil Jones, head of hedge fund FX sales at Mizuho in London, as quoted by Reuters.
Today’s macroeconomic calendar includes the UK’s retail sales for February, due out at 09:30 GMT. IG reports that sales are forecast to have climbed 2.2 percent year-on-year and 0.8 percent month-on-month, from 1.5 percent and -0.3 percent, respectively. In the afternoon, US new home sales data for February will be released at 14:00 GMT, to be followed by the eurozone’s flash consumer confidence index for March at 15:00 GMT.
In corporate news, Next is expected to post profits of around £792 million when it updates investors on its full-year performance this morning, marking a four-percent drop on the prior-year period.
Blue-chips, whose shares will be trading without the attraction of their latest dividend in today’s session, include Carnival (LON:CCL), Diageo (LON:DGE), easyJet (LON:EZJ), GlaxoSmithKline (LON:GSK) and Rio Tinto (LON:RIO). Reuters’ calculations suggest that ex-divs will knock 12.3 points off the Footsie.