- Taper fears continue to erode risk appetite
- BoE, ECB in focus ahead of policy decisions
- Autumn Statement due out
UK markets are expected to fall again on Thursday after hitting their lowest level in over seven weeks, as speculation surrounding a withdrawal of stimulus in the States continues to increase.
Meanwhile, investors will be keeping a close watch on the Bank of England and European Central Bank today as both announce their latest decisions on monetary policy.
Chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement is also due out during the session and is rumoured to include a sooner-than-expected increase in the state pension age, amongst other things.
City sources predict the FTSE 100 will open around 17 points lower than yesterday's close of 6,509.97. This was the lowest close for London's benchmark index since October 14th.
Upbeat readings of US private payrolls and new home sales sparked the fourth straight fall for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500
last night, given that an improved economy only backs the argument for the Federal Reserve to scale back the rate of its asset purchases sooner than initially expected.
The official jobs report - likely to be a key factor in the Fed's policy decision at its meeting on December 17-18th - is due out on Friday afternoon and is expected to reveal a 183,000 increase in non-farm payrolls for November, below the 204,000 gain in October.
According to analysts at Capital Economics, the creation of over 200,000 jobs in November "might just be enough to persuade the Fed to begin its QE taper later this month".
Stocks to watch
Old Mutual is one step closer to completing the acquisition of a majority stake in micro-lender company Faulu Kenya after receiving regulatory approvals. The Financial Services Board of South Africa and the Central Bank of Kenya have given the green light on the deal.
Russian precious metals producer Polymetal said this morning that it has decided not to pay a special dividend for 2013 due to its recent performance and negative commodity market conditions. Following a 57% decline in the share price since the start of January, the company said that the decision was made, "taking account of the performance of the group during the year to date, available free cash flows and future investment requirements".
Soft drinks firm AG Barr toasted a robust set of interim figures and, as it enters the key Christmas trading period, said it is confident of meeting full-year expectations. The Scottish-based group said revenue for the 18 weeks to December 1st increased by 8.0%, with volume increasing by 6.4% compared to the same period last year.
Budget airline easyJet carried more passengers in November, up 3.4% on the same month a year ago. The Luton-based carrier said 4,255,978 people flew with it in November, up from the 4,116,576 people it carried in the same month a year ago.