London pre-open: Stocks to edge up ahead of services data

Wed 04 Dec 2019

LONDON (SHARECAST) - (Sharecast News) - London stocks were set to edge higher at the open on Wednesday as investors awaited the release of the latest services data and kept an eye on trade developments.

The FTSE 100 was called to open 10 points higher at 7,168, having fallen sharply in the previous session after US President Donald Trump suggested that a trade deal with China was not imminent and may not happen until after the 2020 US election.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said the real test for markets will come on or before 15 December, when the next US decision on Chinese tariffs is likely to be made.

On home shores, all eyes will be on the services PMI at 0930 GMT.

Hewson said: "In the UK we've also seen slight improvements in both manufacturing and construction data this week, albeit from very weak levels, and there is some optimism that the real driver of the economy, which is the services sector will also show evidence of a pick up after last week's flash number showed a fall into contraction of 48.6, the worst reading since July 2016.

"The pound has managed to hold up reasonably well this week with the US President so far managing to behave himself when it comes to trying not to be too controversial in respect of the UK election."

In corporate news, Rio Tinto said it had curtailed operations at its Richard Bay Minerals unit in South Africa after one employee was shot and another seriously injured in local violence.

"As a result, all mining operations at RBM have been halted and the smelters are operating at a reduced level, with a minimum number of employees now on site," Rio Tinto said in a statement.

Construction of Rio's $463m Zulti South project was also temporarily paused.

Morrisons appointed Trevor Strain as its new chief operating officer following his six years of service as chief financial officer.

Meanwhile, the supermarket chain also announced that its trading director, Michael Gleeson, will be installed as Strain's successor on 3 February 2020.

Primary Health Properties said it had won a contract to provide development funding to build and own a medical centre in Eastbourne for 8.4m.

The property, which PHP will own, will provide facilities for two merged GP practices to deliver primary care services for a patient list of more than 18,000.
Archived Stories

01 Apr London pre-open: Stocks to slide again after downbeat US, Asian sessions
31 Mar London pre-open: Stocks to edge lower; China manufacturing data encouraging
30 Mar London pre-open: Stocks seen muted despite downbeat Asian session
27 Mar London pre-open: Stocks seen lower as caution sets in ahead of weekend
26 Mar London pre-open: Stocks seen lower ahead of jobless claims, BoE