FTSE 100 preview: Index seen lower as investors await US-China trade news

FTSE 100 preview: Index seen lower as investors await US-China trade news
Written by:
Alice Young
March 7, 2019

Britain’s blue-chip index looks set to open in the red this morning, pressured by stocks going ex-dividend, and with investors awaiting new developments between the US and China. On the corporate front, investors will focus on results from FTSE 100 insurer Aviva (LON:AV).

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Index seen lower

IG’s opening calls suggest that the Footsie will start Thursday’s trading 0.46 percent lower at 7,163 points. The blue-chip index is likely to take cues from the US where shares retreated last night, with investors awaiting fresh news over the trade relations between Washington and Beijing.

“The market is guessing there will be some sort of trade deal that will end the larger hostilities,” Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt, told CNBC. “The news has people waiting; that’s what you’re seeing in the averages over the last several days.” Asian shares have tracked the US lower this morning.

At home, the FTSE 100 closed little changed yesterday, gaining 12.57 points to end trading 0.17 percent higher at 7,196.00.

Thursday’s agenda

Today’s macroeconomic statements include eurozone employment change and gross domestic product growth for the fourth quarter, due out at 10:00 GMT. The European Central Bank’s decision is scheduled to be announced at 12:45 GMT, to be followed by the traditional press conference at 13:30 GMT.

In company releases, Aviva will post results this morning after announcing a new CEO earlier this week. Schroders (LON:SDR), Melrose (LON:MRO), NMC Health (LON:NMC), Informa (LON:INF), Spirax-Sarco Engineering (LON:SPX) and Admiral (LON:ADM) are also reporting today.

Blue-chips, whose shares will be trading without the attraction of their latest dividend today, include BHP (LON:BHP), Evraz (LON:EVR), Persimmon (LON:PSN), Rio Tinto (LON:RIO), RSA Insurance (LON:RSA) and Standard Chartered (LON:STAN). Reuters’ calculations suggest that ex-divs will knock 21.7 points off the FTSE 100.