The City is poised for a modest rise this morning, ignoring a disappointing performance seen in the US and Asia overnight as European investors prepare to weather this current storm of choppy trading.
Sources predict the FTSE 100 will open 14 points above yesterday's close of 6,520.39, which Lee Mumford from Spreadex said followed hopes of new stimulus measures from China which has helped support investor sentiment.
"With China data deteriorating, many believe the Chinese government could impose stimulus measures to boost sentiment," he explained. "Although a positive sign for markets, this was easily brushed aside yesterday as unrest in Ukraine takes its turn."
Attention is still very much on Eastern Europe, where the ongoing Ukraine crisis stepped up a gear over the weekend on reports of Russian troops storming more bases in Crimea following a referendum and subsequent annexation of the region last week.
Ukraine's interim President Olexander Turchynov has now ordered the withdrawal of Ukrainian armed forces from Crimea.
Today's focus is likely to be on February UK inflation figures, which are likely to have fallen further away from the Bank of England's 2% target, economists have predicted.
Consumer prices are expected to have dropped to 1.7% year-on-year in February, compared to 1.9% a month earlier.
On the month, consumer prices are projected to have risen in February by 0.5% from January when they declined 0.6%.
A fall in inflation is likely to support the central bank's message that it will keep interest rates at the record low of 0.5% for some time.
Other economic data releases due out today include US consumer confidence and new home sales, and German Ifo business confidence.
Wolseley boosts half-year profits
A good performance from its US and UK businesses helped builders' merchant Wolseley to boost half-year profits and hike its dividend by a quarter.
In what is so far proving to be an acquisition-heavy week for the group, WPP announced it has agreed to acquire XMKT Group, a marketing services agency specialising in customer experience management. The firm, whose clients include Diageo and Uniqlo, is headquartered in Shanghai and employs approximately 253 people.
easyJet has raised its first half guidance as the European airline drove down costs. The carrier expects a pre-tax loss for the six months ended March 31st 2014 between £55m and £65m, compared with the previous guidance of a pre-tax loss of £70m to £90m. Last year the group made a pre-tax loss of £61m.
Kingfisher, Europe's largest home improvement retailer, said it would return £200m to shareholders this year after a 10% improvement in profits in the year ended February 1st. The company, which owns B&Q and Screwfix in the UK, said it would embark on a new multi-year programme of additional capital returns. "The timing and mechanism for this capital return will be kept under review to ensure we maximise value creation for our shareholders," it added.
AG Barr served up an improved set of full-year earnings after particularly strong growth from its fizzy drinks segment and said is confident in its future prospects despite a challenging soft drinks market. The Scottish manufacturer of IRN-BRU, Rubicon and Strathmore water, said profit on ordinary activities, before tax and exceptional items, increased by 9.6% to £38.1m for the 12 months to January 26th 2014, while total turnover increased by 6.9% to £254.1m.
Royal Mail has announced it is to begin talks with its unions about cutting a net 1,300 jobs in order to save 50m pounds per year from 2016 onwards. There will be a £100m more of transformation costs in the current year but no impact on the cumulative cash investment in the period. Management added that underlying trends for the full financial year to end-March would remain "broadly in line" with results in the first six months of the year.