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FTSE 100 preview: Muted start ahead as Asia retreats

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The UK benchmark index looks set to open in negative territory this morning, tracking Asian shares lower. Travel stocks are likely to remain in focus today, following easyJet’s (LON:EZJ) half-year update yesterday, with TUI Group (LON:TUI) one of the companies scheduled to post results today.

IG’s opening calls suggest that the FTSE 100 will start the day nine points lower at 6,147.The Footsie is expected to take cues from Asia where stocks have mostly lost ground as the yen rose and oil pulled back. Stocks in the US closed higher last night, lifted by stronger oil and a weaker yen.
“It’s a little bit hard to tell (why stocks are up). Whatever behind it is more subtle. People are being more comfortable it’s not going to roll over and go into another corrective mode,” Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank, told CNBC, adding that people were “encouraged to some extent the yen is weakening a little bit”.

At home, the Footsie added 41.84 points to close 0.68 percent higher at 6,156.65 yesterday. Capita (LON:CPI) was the biggest blue-chip gainer in percentage terms, closing 5.27 percent higher at 1,078.00p, after updating investors on its recent performance.
“After such a good start some are understandably asking whether the company is staying cautious at this early stage,” said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, as quoted by Reuters. “Potential for expectations to be beaten and guidance raised as the year progresses may have presented an opportunity to buy in around the lows.”
Today’s macroeconomic calendar includes the UK’s industrial and manufacturing production data for March, due out at 09:30 BST. On the other side of the Atlantic, US crude inventories numbers are scheduled to be released at 15:30 BST.
In corporate releases, TUI is scheduled to update investors on its half-year performance. Other blue-chip companies reporting today include Compass Group (LON:CPG), Experian (LON:EXPN) and Barratt Developments (LON:BDEV).

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