FTSE 100 preview: Index seen lower despite upbeat leads

on Feb 21, 2019

The FTSE 100 looks set to open lower this morning, despite upbeat leads from the US and Asia, with ex-divs and Brexit uncertainty likely to weigh on sentiment. Following Lloyds (LON:LLOY) update yesterday, Barclays (LON:BARC) will continue the banking reporting season this morning.

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Footsie seen lower

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IG’s opening calls suggest that the FTSE 100 will start trading 0.10 percent lower at 7,222 points. Investors are likely to shrug off an upbeat lead from the US where shares inched higher last night after the Federal Reserve reaffirmed ‘patient’ approach to rate hikes in its latest minutes. Asian shares have also advanced this morning.

Reuters meanwhile reports that Prime Minister Theresa May, who held discussions with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, had told a British television channel that she again had pressed for ‘legally binding changes’ to a deal she agreed with the EU in November.

In the UK, the FTSE 100 rose in the previous session, adding 49.45 points to close 0.69 percent higher at 7,228.62, despite more than an 18-percent drop in Sainsbury’s (LON:SBRY), whose shares were sold off after the competition watchdog flagged concerns over the company’s proposed tie-up with Asda.

Thursday’s releases

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Today’s macroeconomic statements include Germany’s final consumer price index for January, due out at 07:00 GMT, to be followed by the flash February services and manufacturing purchasing managers’ indices (PMIs) for France, Germany and the eurozone, all scheduled to be released between 08:15 GMT and 09:00 GMT. In the US, the nation’s durable goods orders for December will be announced at 13:30 GMT, followed by the February flash services and manufacturing PMIs at 14:45 GMT.

Barclays will post results on the corporate front, having previously signalled plans to pay 6.5p dividend per share this year. Other companies reporting today include Anglo American (LON:AAL), BAE Systems (LON:BA), Relx (LON:REL) and Centrica (LON:CNA).

Blue-chips, whose shares will be trading without the attraction of their latest dividend in today’s session, include Carnival (LON:CCL), GlaxoSmithKline (LON:GSK) and Imperial Brands (LON:IMB). Reuters’ calculations suggest that ex-divs will knock off 7.16 points off the Footsie.

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