City sources predict the FTSE 100 will open around 17 points below yesterday's close of 6,839.25.
Stocks to watch
IAG Group today reported an 18% increase in monthly traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometres, in April. On an available seat kilometres basis, the rise was 16.6% month-on-month, or 7.6% on a pro-forma basis. Group premium traffic for April climbed 4% compared to a year earlier.
Oilfield services group Petrofac delivered a profit warning on Friday, saying that its bottom line in 2014 is likely to weaken due to lower-than-expected earnings from its IES division. The company is guiding to a net profit for the full year in the region of $580-600m, down from $650m in 2013. This compares with previous guidance in February when it had said it expected to deliver "flat to modest growth" in 2014.
British Land has completed its first letting at Marble Arch House in the West End, after Fulcrum Asset Management signed a 10-year lease to occupy the 9,000 sq ft fifth floor of the building. Fulcrum has agreed to pay £78.50 per square foot and is due to move into the building over the summer.
In the Press
Britain's six-year Great Recession will be declared over today when one of the country's leading economic bodies says that the ground lost in the financial crisis has been recovered. The monthly estimate of growth from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research will show that GDP is back at, or just fractionally short of, its March 2008 record. "We are incredibly close to the pre-recession peak. Whether we make it in the April estimate will be a matter of 0.1%," Jack Meaning, a research fellow at the institute, said. - The Times
Former science minister Lord Sainsbury has launched a blistering attack on Pfizer's £63bn takeover move on AstraZeneca, calling on the government to block its attempt to "dismember" a strategically important British company. Amid expectation that the US pharmaceutical firm is preparing to come back with an improved offer which could value AstraZeneca at £67bn, Sainsbury warned David Cameron he would be politically damaged if he simply stood by and let the takeover go ahead. - The Guardian
Investors staged this year's biggest rebellion yet against excessive boardroom rewards by casting a substantial vote against pay proposals at Standard Chartered yesterday. At the bank's annual meeting, 56% of investors withheld their support from Standard Chartered's plans to change the way its executives are paid in response to the European Union's new bonus cap. - The Times
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed modestly higher on Thursday after data showed that claims for unemployment benefits dropped by more than expected last week.
However, a late sell-off in utilities and energy, which have done well lately, dragged down the S&P 500
and the Nasdaq.
Initial US jobless claims for the week ended May 3rd fell by 26,000 to 319,000, below the consensus forecast of 325,000. The previous week's reading was revised higher by 1,000 to 345,000.