London pre-open: Stocks seen muted after downbeat US session

Wed 16 May 2018

LONDON (SHARECAST) - (Sharecast News) - London stocks were set for a muted open on Wednesday following a downbeat session in the US amid rising interest rate expectations, and as North Korea suspended talks with South Korea.
The FTSE 100 was called to open just three points higher at 7,725.

London Capital Group analyst Jasper Lawler said: "The Dow snapped an 8-day winning streak after interest rate expectations surged. An inline retail sales reading was sufficient to trigger a sharp move higher in 10-year treasury yields, dampening demand for US equities whilst lifting the dollar to a 5 month high versus a basket of currencies.

"Whilst the Dow closed over 190 points lower, the S&P shed 0.6% and the Nasdaq headed 0.8% lower as concerns over higher future corporate borrowing rates painted equities in an unattractive light. Traders are not looking at the bigger picture right now, the fundamentals say that the economy is strong which is why the Fed could be considering a more aggressive path to hiking; the irony is this is triggering a selling mentality in traders as the era of cheap money appears to be well and truly over."

In UK corporate news, Burberry presented a smart but not swanky first set of full year results under new chief executive Marco Gobbetti, beating City forecasts despite a 1% fall in revenues.

Adjusted operating profits of 467m in the 12 months to 31 March were up 2% on the previous year, or 5% at constant exchange rates and ahead of 453m.

Paddy Power Betfair confirmed it is in talks over a potential merger of its US business and US-based FanDuel to target the market that will open up following the Supreme Court's overturning of a federal ban on sports betting.

The FTSE 100-listed bookmaker said discussions are ongoing and there is no certainty as to whether agreement will be reached, or as to the terms or timing of any transaction.

Paper products maker Mondi said it expected first quarter underlying operating profit to be 15% higher year on year at €295m and 6% up on the fourth quarter of 2017.

Higher average selling prices and profit improvement initiatives across the group more than offset higher operating costs, the impact of maintenance shuts and negative currency effects.

Software group Micro Focus International updated the market on its trading performance for the six months ended 30 April on Wednesday, saying it expected to report revenues better than the management guidance of -9% to -12% on a constant currency basis, compared to the proforma six months ended 30 April 2017.

The company did caution that those figures included an "unusually large" licence deal of approximately $40m, which closed earlier than expected. Excluding that deal, the group's underlying revenue was towards the better end of the guidance range.
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