City sources predict the FTSE 100 will open down 18 points from yesterday's close of 5,809, as attention once again focuses on the situation in Europe, particularly Spain, where on Tuesday Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, dismissed talk that his country would be requesting a bailout in the near-term.
The country also yesterday unveiled a poor set of unemployment figures. According to the Ministry of Employment, unemployment rose by 1.7% in September to a total of 4.7m unemployed people, an increase of 79.465. In September of last year, unemployment had risen by 95,817.
The Chinese services sector purchasing managers' index fell to 53.7 in September from 56.3 in August, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing.
In part linked to data such as the above, Bloomberg cites ex-Morgan Stanley Chief Economist for Asia, Andy Xie, as forecasting that prices for iron ore -which reached a record $191.90 a metric ton on Feb. 16 last year- may plunge as low as $50 a metric ton before the middle of next year. They haven't traded at that level since contract prices were set at $47 a ton in 2006.
Meantime, and in the UK, shop price inflation declined to 1.0% year-on-year in September, from 1.1% in August, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
At 09:28 Markit will publish its service sector PMI data for the United Kingdom, economists at Lloyds expect the services PMI to ease slightly from 53.7 to 53.3. "The index jumped sharply in August, alongside the manufacturing PMI. While the move higher was welcome, we remain wary of too sharp a rebound in the face of softer international surveys and on-going uncertainty at home," they write this morning.
Eurozone PMI data may also make themselves felt in the market this morning, towards 08:58.
Investors Stateside will see the release of the September ADP employment report, at 13:15, followed by ISM services data at 15:00.
Last but not least, and on the political front, today is German Unity day. As well, the first televised US election debate will take place tonight.
In company news, first half profit before tax took a tumble at Tesco, though the group returned to like-for-like (LFL) sales growth in the UK in the second quarter. Statutory profit before tax fell 11.6% from a year earlier to £1.7bn in the 29 weeks ended August 25th, while adjusted profit before tax was down 8.5% at £1.8bn. Broker Panmure Gordon had forecast adjusted profit before tax of £1.6bn. Group sales were up 1.4%, or 3.2% at constant exchange rates, to £36.0bn, and with petrol sales stripped out were up 1.6%, or up 3.7% at constant exchange rates.
Supermarket giant Sainsbury's said it had outperformed the market in the second quarter, helped by strong sales of own label products and clothing. Total sales for second quarter were up 4.4% excluding fuel, while LFL sales were up 1.9%. Total sales for the first half were up 4.1% excluding fuel, with LFL sales over the six months rising 1.7%.
Pearson, the FTSE 100 education and publishing firm which labels itself as a 'leading learning company', has announced that its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Marjorie Scardino has decided to call it quits at the end of the year. Having led the firm since January 1997, Scardino is one of the FTSE 100's longest-serving CEOs. She is also the Chairman of the MacArthur Foundation, Vice Chairman of Nokia and a director of Oxfam.