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FTSE 100 preview: Index poised for muted start to October

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The FTSE 100 looks set to start the last quarter of the year little changed, following a mixed handover from Asia. In company developments, J Sainsbury (LON:SBRY) will be in focus today amid reports that it is mulling over a push into the UK beauty market.

Muted start ahead

IG’s opening calls suggest that the Footsie will start the session 0.02 percent lower at 7,508 points. The UK benchmark index is likely to take cues from Asia where shares have been mixed this morning as investors digested downbeat factory data out of China, along with news that the US and Canada had reached a framework deal to update the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“Investors will likely view the latest agreement positively, a sign that trade disputes are easing outside China-US talks,” Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, commented, as quoted by Reuters. In the US, shares closed little changed on Friday, pressured by the ongoing trade concerns.

In the UK, the Footsie ended the last trading day of the quarter in negative territory, giving up 35.24 points to close 0.47 percent lower at 7,510.20, pressured by worries over Italy’s budget deficit, as well as a selloff in blue-chip insurers following RSA Insurance’s (LON:RSA) profit warning.

Monday’s agenda

Today’s macroeconomic releases include the UK manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for September, due out at 9:30 BST. IG reports that the index is forecast to have climbed to 53.8, from 52.8. In the US, the nation’s manufacturing PMI for September is out at 15:00 BST. In company news, the Guardian reports that Sainsbury’s is taking on Boots, Superdrug and Debenhams with department store-style beauty aisles staffed with specialist assistants.

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