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FTSE 100 preview: Selloff ahead amid trade war worries

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The FTSE 100 looks set to open sharply lower on the last trading day of the week as President Donald Trump signalled more tariffs on China. On the earnings front, Royal Bank of Scotland Group (LON:RBS) will post its interims.

Selloff on the cards

IG’s opening calls suggest that the FTSE 100 will start trading 1.05 percent lower at 7,505 points. The blue-chip index is likely to take cues from the US where shares tumbled last night as President Trump said that Washington would impose an extra 10-percent tariff on Chinese imports.

“Trade has always been an issue hanging over the market and whether or not we see an escalation, said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. “The fact is we’ll surely get a reaction from Beijing.” Asian shares have tracked the US lower this morning.

In the UK, the FTSE 100 closed little changed in the previous session, giving up 1.91 points to end trading 0.03 percent lower at 7,584.87, as investors digested a string of corporate releases.

Friday’s agenda

Today’s macroeconomic releases include the UK’s construction purchasing managers’ index for July, due out at 09:30 BST. IG reports that the index is expected to have climbed from 43.1, to 45.1, while still staying in contraction territory. Eurozone retail sales data for June will follow at 10:00 BST, while in the US, the nation’s non-farm payrolls will be announced at 13:30 BST. IG repots that the world’s biggest economy is expected to have added 160,000 new jobs last month, down from 224,000, while the unemployment rate is expected to have fallen to 3.6 percent, from 3.7 percent.

On the corporate front, RBS will post its interims, continuing the banking earnings season following Lloyds (LON:LLOY), StanChart (LON:STAN) and Barclays (LON:BARC). The update will come as the part government-owned lender remains on the lookout for  a new chief executive, with Ross McEwan due to take the top job at National Australia Bank.

Former telecoms monopoly BT Group (LON:BT.A) will post half-year results today, while International Consolidated Airlines Group (LON:IAG) will update investors on its interim performance amid prospects for a hefty fine for its British Airways unit.

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