- FTSE expected to fall around 10 points early on
- Black Friday sales disappoint Stateside
- UK retail sales show slow start to Christmas trading
City sources predict the FTSE 100 will open around 10 points lower than yesterday's close of 6,595.33, tracking losses seen across the Pond last night as heightened speculation about tapering and a disappointing outcome for retail sales over Black Friday pressure US stocks lower, with markets extending losses before the close.
On the UK macro-economic front today, it has been revealed that Christmas on the British high street has got off to a slow start as shoppers delayed buying in the hope of bagging last-minute bargains, figures out this morning showed.
UK retail sales rose 0.6% last month against 0.4% in November 2012, according to a monthly survey by the British Retail Consortium and accountants KPMG. Average total growth between September and November was 2.4% against 2.7% for the year, indicating a slowdown in the last three months. The BRC and KPMG said the market remains tough with sales slow but growth steady.
Also being released today will be Halifax house price numbers and Markit´s purchasing managers' index (PMI) for construction.
House prices are tipped to rise by 0.8% in November, up from a month ago when prices grew 0.7%.
PMI construction is anticipated to expand at a slower pace in November with the headline gauge slipping to 59 compared to 59.4 in October.
On the company front, education group Pearson has agreed to acquire Grupo Multi, a Brazilian adult English language training firm serving over 800,000 students across more than 2,600 franchised schools. The FTSE 100-listed group will pay £440m in cash and assume £65m of debt.
Oilfield services group Petrofac and African firm Taleveras Energy Resources have signed a five-year co-operation agreement with the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC). The memorandum of understanding "support[s] NPDC's aims to further build indigenous capacity and technical capabilities of NPDC & its affiliates".
Pub operator Greene King reported a 5.2% rise in first half revenue of £595.4m as the good summer weather offset consumer caution. Pre-tax profit in the 24 weeks to October 24th came to £85.6m, up 5.7% on the prior year, while adjusted earnings per share was up 6.35% to 30.4p.
FTSE 250 Berkshire-based software and information technology business Micro Focus revealed solid progress in the first half of its financial year and said it has laid the foundations for continued growth in the second half. Total revenue rose 2.4% to $207.5m for the six months ended October 31st 2013, in line with company guidance. It is revising full-year revenue guidance from 0-5% growth to 3-6%.
Revenues fell in the first half at Betfair, which argued that 'sustainable' revenues grew in jurisdiction with more predictable regulatory horizons. The FTSE 250 betting exchange and sportsbook operator saw sales fall 6% to £188m but the sustainable markets of UK, Ireland, Denmark, Malta, Gibraltar and US grew from 71% to 77% of group revenues.