Equities By Region Indices UK

FTSE 100 preview: Index seen little changed as investors digest Brexit news

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The FTSE 100 looks set to start today’s session little changed, pegged by ex-divs, and with investors digesting the latest Brexit developments. Royal Mail Group (LON:RMG) is scheduled to post its interims this morning, having warned on full-year profits last month.

Index seen steady

IG’s opening calls suggest that the Footsie will start trading 0.06 percent higher at 7,038 points. Investors will eye the ongoing Brexit process, with Reuters reporting that Prime Minister Theresa May has won the backing of her senior ministers for a draft European Union divorce deal.

In the US, shares fell last night, pressured by the banking sector and volatility in Apple’s stock.

“I believe the stock market is experiencing is a continuation of the selling pressure that began in early October,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist at SlateStone Wealth, as quoted by CNBC. Asian shares meanwhile have been mixed this morning.

In the UK, the FTSE 100 closed marginally lower, giving up 0.28 percent to end trading at 7,033.79 points.

Thursday’s releases

Today’s macroeconomic releases include UK retail sales data for October, due out at 09:30 GMT. IG reports that retail sales are expected to have fallen 0.4 percent month-on-month, but to have climbed 3.6 percent year-on-year, from a 0.8-percent fall and a three-percent rise respectively. In the US, the Empire State manufacturing index for November and retail sales for October will be announced at 13:30 GMT.

Royal Mail’s results will be in focus in today’s session, with the blue-chip group potentially facing relegation from the FTSE 100 following last month’s slump in the shares prompted by the postal operator’s profit warning. 3i (LON:III) is also reporting today.

Blue-chips, whose shares will be trading without the attraction of their latest dividend in today’s session, include Bunzl (LON:BNZL), GlaxoSmithKline (LON:GSK), Marks & Spencer (LON:MKS), Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSA, LON:RDSB), J Sainsbury (LON:SBRY) and Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust (LON:SMT). Reuters’ calculations suggest that ex-divs will knock 16.2 points off the Footsie.

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