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FTSE 100 preview: Index looking up ahead of US-China trade talks

The FTSE 100 looks set to start the new week on the front foot, shrugging off downbeat leads from the US and Asia, ahead of talks between the US and China later in the week. Imperial Brands (LON:IMB) will be in focus on the corporate front today amid reports that the company’s chairman will step down.

Index looking up

IG’s opening calls suggest that the Footsie will start trading 0.50 percent higher at 7,107 points. Investors are likely to shrug off a downbeat lead from Asia, where shares have been subdued ahead of a fresh round of trade talks between Washington and Beijing. In the US, shares fell on Friday, pressured by global growth concerns.

“The fear factor over the trade war has crept back into the market,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities, as quoted by CNBC. “That’s going to send the market for a bumpy ride.”

“We’re probably looking at a more defensive situation until we have more clarity on the trade negotiations,” he pointed out.

At home, the Footsie closed lower on Friday, giving up 22.40 points to end trading 0.32 percent lower at 7,071.18, pressured by worries over the US-China trade relations.

UK data ahead

Today’s macroeconomic releases include the UK trade balance, industrial and manufacturing production numbers, as well as gross domestic growth data for December, all due out at 09:30 GMT. There are no FTSE 100 companies scheduled to update investors on their performance this morning.

In other news, The Times reports that Imperial Brands is expected to announce that Mark Williamson will step down as chairman in the coming months  on the back of the introduction of more stringent corporate governance rules.

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