London pre-open: Stocks seen touch higher ahead of GDP

Thu 24 Aug 2017

LONDON (SHARECAST) - (ShareCast News) - London stocks were set for a slightly higher open on Thursday as investors eyed the release of key UK economic growth figures and the start of the Jackson Hole symposium.
The FTSE 100 was expected to open seven points higher at 7,389.

On the data front, second-quarter UK gross domestic product is at 0930 BST, while the CBI distributive trades survey is at 1100 BST.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "When the first iteration of UK Q2 GDP was first released a few weeks ago it was surprising in how weak the numbers for the manufacturing sector were given the resilience of various private sector surveys which pointed to and continue to point to a strong expansion in this sector.

"An improvement on Q1 was the least of expectations and that is what we got, but only from 0.2% to 0.3%, which was a little disappointing given the significant improvements seen in a lot of the survey data, and the continued decline in unemployment.

"Today's second estimate will have the benefit of slightly more data to work with, however expectations are for an unchanged reading of 0.3%, with a moderate decline in business investment to 0.2% from 0.6%. Services once again are expected to make up the lion's share of the expansion with 0.5%, as the weak pound prompts resilience from overseas visitors in the travel and leisure sector."

In corporate news, Dixons Carphone warned that profits for the full year will be well short of expectation due to a new business model of its sales software, while also saying the UK mobile phone was proving "more challenging".

Headline profit before tax for the year to the end of next April will be in the range of 360-440m as the FTSE 100 retailer moves towards selling its Honeybee software product with a move towards software-as-a-service, though the travails of the mobile phone business are not expected to dent overall profit in core retail operations due to good progress in UK & Ireland, Nordic and Greek electrical businesses.

Gambling software development company Playtech saw revenues jump 30% at constant currencies in its first half to €421.6m, it announced on Thursday, with adjusted EBITDA rising 24% by the same measure to €170.9m.

The FTSE 250 firm's adjusted diluted earnings per share were 21% higher at constant exchange rates for the six months to 31 June at 36.2 euro cents, with the board confirming a total dividend of 12.1 cents - an increase of 10%.
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