FTSE 100 watch: Muted start ahead after China growth data

on Oct 19, 2017

The UK benchmark index looks set to open marginally lower this morning, taking cues from Asia, where shares have pared gains after the latest economic data out of China. Royal Bank of Scotland Group (LON:RBS) will be in focus today amid reports that it is in talks to sell its stake in Euroclear.

Investors mull over China GDP

IG’s opening calls suggest that the FTSE 100 will start the session 0.08 percent lower at 7,537 points. The index is likely to track Asia lower after data showed growth in the world’s second largest economy slowed slightly in the third quarter.

“The GDP reading could weigh negatively on both mainland stock and currency markets as traders may position for further weakness into year-end suspecting financial curbs will continue to have a negative impact on growth in China,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at OANDA in Singapore, as quoted by Reuters.

US stocks meanwhile continued their uptrend, with investors focusing on company earnings. At home, the Footsie rose in yesterday’s session, finding support in stronger oil and weaker sterling. The index added 26.70 points to close 0.36 percent higher at 7,542.87.

Today’s agenda

Today’s macroeconomic releases include the UK retail sales data for September, due out at 09:30 BST. IG reports that sales are expected to have climbed to 0.3 percent month-on-month, from one percent, while the year-to-year rate is forecast to have slowed down to 1.1 percent, from 2.4 percent.

On the corporate front, London Stock Exchange Group (LON:LSE), Travis Perkins (LON:TPK), Unilever (LON:ULVR) and Schroders (LON:SDR) are scheduled to post reports. In other company developments, Sky News reports that RBS is in talks to offload its long-held stake in Euroclear, a financial markets infrastructure group playing a central role in settling hundreds of trillions of euros-worth of trades.

FTSE 100 companies, whose shares are going ex-dividend in today’s session, include BAE Systems (LON:BA) and Smiths Group (LON:SMIN). Reuters calculations suggest that ex-divs will knock 1.55 points off the Footsie. 


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