Markets are expected to open flat on Thursday, pausing at a one-month high, as traders begin to look forward to the next Federal Reserve policy meeting.
City sources predict the FTSE 100 will open more or less unchanged from yesterday's close of 6,588.43 - this was its highest closing price since August 13th when it ended the day at 6,611.94.
"There is a suspicion that with no other major catalysts to spark further gains or trigger a sell-off, investors may decide to hold fire until the Federal Reserve meeting due to be held next Tuesday-Wednesday," said Financial Sales Trader Max Cohen from Spreadex.
A September 'tapering' of Fed stimulus had looked almost certain - according to the majority of economists - up until last week when a worse-than-expected US jobs report cast doubt on analysts' expectations. Given that the Fed said that reduction in asset purchases would be tied to the recovery in the labour market, there is now speculation that policymakers could wait until later on in the year before pulling the plug.
Fears over an impending US strike on Syria eased this week after it accepted a Russian proposal to hand over all chemical weapons to international control in an attempt to avoid US military action.
In a nationally televised speech on Tuesday night, US President Barack Obama asked Congress to delay a vote on military action against Bashar al-Assad's regime in light of recent diplomatic developments.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday called on the US not to intervene in Syria, especially if action is not approved by the United Nations first. In a commentary in The New York Times, he said: "The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation."
Stocks to watch
Engineering and project management group AMEC announced its decision not to make an offer for Kentz Corporation. Last month the company announced its plans for a possible cash offer for the firm in the range of 565-580p per share.
Morrison Supermarkets reported a 21.8% drop in pre-tax profit for the six months to August 4th, blaming a "challenging" market. Profit before tax fell to £344m from £440 in the prior period as like-for-like store sales declined 1.6%.
Imperial Tobacco, the company behind Davidoff cigarettes, Golden Virginia tobacco and Rizla rolling paper, has revealed that it is appointing ex-KPMG Vice Chairman Oliver Tant as its new Finance Director.
Fashion retailer Next hiked its interim dividend payout after driving up half-year profits by 8.2% despite a fall in retail sales. The group said pre-tax profit rose 8.2% to £271.8m from £251.3m after it sold more clothes at full price and fewer clothes in its sale. It said that consumers were tending to buy clothes closer to the point of needing them and this had helped drive up sales in July when the weather became much warmer.