London pre-open: Stocks seen up ahead of retail sales

Fri 17 Jan 2020

LONDON (SHARECAST) - (Sharecast News) - London stocks were set to rise at the open on Friday following fresh highs on Wall Street, as investors eye the release of retail sales data.
The FTSE 100 was called to open 13 points higher at 7,622.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "The new record highs in the US and positive Asia session are likely to see a positive follow through for markets here in Europe later this morning."

On the data front, UK retail sales figures for December are due at 0930 GMT.

"Today's December UK retail sales numbers could well tip the scales back away from that rate cut speculation if we see a strong recovery after the 0.6% decline seen in November," said Hewson. "One of the characteristics of the recent November data has been how weak some of it has been, however given the political uncertainty ahead of the December election it is perhaps not surprising that business and consumers held back. Expectations are for consumers to have unlocked the purse strings in the wake of last month's landslide Conservative win and for there to be a rebound of 0.5%.

"If we get a strong rebound then maybe some of the rate cut speculation of the last few days may well diminish."

In corporate news, Rio Tinto reported a 3% fall in iron ore shipments in 2019 as a cyclone and a fire at a port facility disrupted operations.Iron ore shipped from Australia's Pilbara region in 2019 was 327.4m tonnes, inside its forecast of 320m - 330m, the company said.

Rio said it expected 2020 shipments to be between 330m -343m tonnes.

Credit-checking firm Experian reported a 9% jump in total third-quarter revenue and backed its expectations for the year.

A solid performance in North America - where revenue rose 11% - helped to offset declines in the UK and Ireland and EMEA/Asia Pacific.
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