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FTSE 100 preview: Index seen little changed after mixed leads

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The UK benchmark index is expected to kick off the last trading day of the month marginally in positive territory following uninspiring leads from the US and Asia. In corporate news, Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LON:LLOY) is due to update investors on its second-quarter performance.

CNBC reports that the Footsie is called four points higher at 6,672. US stocks closed mixed yesterday, with investors focusing on corporate earnings, and after the Federal Reserve earlier this week said that it was going to raise rates when it had “seen some further improvement in the labour market”.
“I think there’s a lot of confusion really. The focus was trying to understand what’s going on with economic growth and the Fed,” David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds, told CNBC. Asian stocks were cautiously higher this morning, with investors continuing to monitor China market volatility.

The FTSE 100 added 37.87 points to close 0.57 percent higher at 6,668.87 yesterday, after better-than-expected results and cost-cutting plans from heavyweight Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSA) lent support to energy stocks. Shares in the Anglo-Dutch giant closed 4.73 percent higher at 1,861.00p.
“Shell’s move of cutting jobs and reducing capex has pleased investors as it’s a good way of maintaining a strong dividend culture,” Jawaid Afsar, senior trader at Securequity, said, as quoted by Reuters. “Sentiment has also improved as its integration with BG is also going well.”
Today’s macroeconomic announcements include eurozone inflation data for July. IG reports that the number is forecast to be 0.2 percent, with core prices having climbed by 0.89 percent from 0.8 percent. Lloyds’ results are the main corporate event today, with the bailed-out lender expected to also set out its dividend plans. Other blue-chip companies reporting this morning include BG Group (LON:BG) and British Airways and Iberia owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (LON:IAG).

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