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

on Mar 30, 2017

The UK benchmark index looks set to start the session marginally lower, after Prime Minister Theresa May formally triggered Article 50 yesterday. In company news, charging decisions over Barclays’ 2008 emergency fundraising from Qatar may not come before May, Bloomberg has reported.

IG’s opening calls suggest that the Footsie will start the day five points lower at 7,368. Brexit will remain in focus with analysts and investors pondering the consequences of triggering Article 50. Prime Minister Theresa May notified EU Council President Donald Tusk in a hand-delivered letter yesterday that Britain would quit the bloc. US stocks closed mostly higher last night, while Asian shares have traded lower this morning.

“Brexit, to some extent, has been covered in the market already. People went short, covered, and went short again,” said Kaneo Ogino, director at foreign exchange research firm Global-info Co, as quoted by Reuters.
The Footsie rose in choppy trade yesterday, adding 30.30 points to close 0.41 percent higher at 7,373.72 as the UK triggered the Brexit process.
Today’s macroeconomic releases include the eurozone business confidence index for March, scheduled to be unveiled at 10:00 BST, followed by Germany’s preliminary inflation rate for March at 13:00 BST. In the US, the final estimate for the nation’s fourth-quarter gross domestic product is due out at 13:30 BST.
There are no blue-chips scheduled to update investors on their recent performance this morning. In other news, Bloomberg reports that the Serious Fraud Office has delayed its charging decision in relation to Barclays’ emergency cash call during the financial crisis when the company turned to Middle Eastern investors, avoiding a state-funded bailout.
FTSE 100 companies, whose shares will be trading without the attraction of their latest dividend in today’s session, include British Land (LON:BLND), Old Mutual (LON:OML), Prudential (LON:PRU), Schroders (LON:SDR) and Smith & Nephew (LON:SN). Reuters’ calculations suggest that ex-divs will knock 4.79 points off the benchmark index.

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