- FTSE to open down five points
- January Eurozone inflation to be closely watched
- Eurozone unemployment set to stay at 12.1 per cent
City sources predict the FTSE 100 will open five points below yesterday's close of 6,538.45, tracking declines seen in Asia overnight after Japanese stocks fell on a weaker dollar.
However, a decent performance by US markets on Thursday looks set to limit losses. Stocks climbed after the Commerce Department revealed that US gross domestic product growth (GDP) was 3.2% in the fourth quarter of 2013.
According to Paul Ashworth, Chief US Economist at Capital Economics, this was "pretty impressive" when considering that the three-week government shutdown occurred at the start of the period.
On today's agenda are European consumer price inflation, Italian employment, French consumer spending, Canadian GDP and US personal spending/income.
Markets will be keeping a particularly close watch on the January Eurozone inflation report as the European Central Bank (ECB) comes under mounting pressure to tackle deflationary risks.
Analysts expect consumer price growth to have risen slightly to 0.9% year-on-year this month from 0.8% in December. The ECB is targeting inflation of close to, but under, 2%.
Earlier this month, ECB President Mario Draghi blamed December's drop in inflation on an adjustment by the German statistics office, saying he expects it to pick up in January.
At the time he said the ECB would keep interest rates at 0.25% and reiterated that it was "ready to act" should the economy take a turn for the worse.
On Monday, he signalled a move towards monetary stimulus to ward off deflation. Draghi said the ECB would be prepared to buy packages of bank loans to households and companies, in contrast to traditional quantitative easing consisting of purchases of sovereign debt.
Meanwhile, the Eurozone's unemployment rate for December will also be released today and is expected to hold at 12.1%.
GfK will reveal the outcome of its UK consumer confidence survey in January. The sentiment index is forecast to come in at -12, compared to -13 in December.
In this morning's company news, telecoms group BT raised its earnings outlook for the year after its broadband fibre business and its new BT Sport channels helped it to boost profits by 8% in the third quarter.
Cairn Energy issued a statement saying it would "take whatever steps are necessary to protect the company's interests and to defend its position" following the recent request for information from the Indian Income Tax Department. The oil and gas exploration and development company was told it had to provide information regarding its income tax assessments for the year ended March 31st 2007, during which time it stressed it had been "fully compliant with the tax legislation in force".
Web and technology business Premier Farnell said that sales had picked up in the second half of year with all regions contributing to growth. For the 12 months ending February 2nd, group sales per day are expected to be 2.6% ahead of the £952m reported the previous year, compared with 0.9% growth in first half.
Gaming company Rank Group reported a 23% fall in pre-tax profit to £27.7m in the first half, reflecting the weak performance of its casino and bingo businesses. Operating profit at its Grosvenor Casinos venues and Mecca bingo clubs fell 26% and 38% on a like-for-like basis, respectively.