London pre-open: Stocks seen muted as investors eye Jackson Hole speeches

Fri 25 Aug 2017

LONDON (SHARECAST) - (ShareCast News) - London stocks were set for a muted open on Friday as investors eye speeches by Fed chair Janet Yellen and European Central Bank president Mario Draghi at the Jackson Hole Symposium later in the day, with volumes likely to be lighter ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend.
The FTSE 100 was expected to open four points higher at 7,411.

CMC Markets analyst David Madden said: "After a long wait the Jackson Hole symposium finally kicked off yesterday, and traders will be paying close attention to the speeches from Janet Yellen and Mario Draghi, which are due to take place today.

"To borrow an expression from the music industry, it is fair to say that Mr Draghi is the 'headline act'. We were told by unnamed sources from the European Central Bank (ECB),that Mr Draghi will not be laying down the groundwork for the tapering of the stimulus package.

"Janet Yellen, the chair of the Federal Reserve, is likely to give us more of the usual, that the US economy is improving, and in particular unemployment is falling. Earnings could be firmer but they are edging higher. The US inflation level is below the Fed's target, and if Ms Yellen brings that up, it will tip off traders that we are unlikely to see a rate hike in December."

In corporate news, troubled doorstep lender Provident Financial said it had replaced the managing director of its consumer credit division, appointing Chris Gillespie "with immediate effect".

Gillespie takes over from Andy Parkinson, the company said in a statement. Shares in Provident tanked by 66% on Tuesday after an unexpected profit warning and the resignation of chief executive Peter Crook.

FTSE 250 IT services provider Computacenter reported a 15% jump in first-half revenue on Friday as adjusted pre-tax profit rose 66% thanks in part to favourable currency movements and an "outstanding" performance in its German business.

In the six months to the end of June, adjusted pre-tax profit rose to 41.9m from 25.3m the year before, on revenue of 1.7bn, up from 1.5bn in the first half of 2016.

There are no major UK data releases due.
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