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FTSE 100 preview: Index to start September little changed

The UK benchmark index looks set to start September little changed, following a downbeat lead from Asia, pressured by ongoing trade war concerns. In company news, Royal Bank of Scotland Group (LON:RBS) will be in focus amid prospects of buying back taxpayers’ shares about a decade following its state-funded bailout.

FTSE 100 seen little changed

IG’s opening calls suggest that the FTSE 100 will open 0.02 percent lower at 7,431 points. The blue-chip index is  likely to take cues for Asia, where shares have started September on the back foot, pressured by trade worries, with the US and Canada failing to reach a trade agreement.

“With heightened US-China trade tensions running in the background (with the consult on another $200bn of tariffs on China) any relief that NAFTA might present this Wed (assuming Canada reaches an agreement) could prove to be fleeting,” said Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank, as quoted by CNBC. In the US, shares ended August in positive territory despite the ongoing trade war worries.

At home, the FTSE 100 tumbled on Friday, shedding 83.61 points to close 1.11 percent at 7,432.42, pressured by the trade war concerns and stronger sterling. Whitbread (LON:WTB), however, soared more than 14 percent after agreeing to sell its Costa coffee business to Coca-Cola Co for $5.1 billion.

Monday’s agenda

Today’s macroeconomic statements include the UK manufacturing purchasing managers’ index for August, due out at 09:30 BST. IG reports that the index is expected to have climbed to 55.9, from 54. In company news, The Sunday Times reports that RBS is planning to hold an extraordinary general meeting to win investor support for a share buyback aimed at reducing the government’s stake.

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