UK-listed stocks are expected to move slightly higher early on today, reversing some of Wednesday's losses as investors gear up for what is set to be a somewhat heavier session in terms of macro data.
City sources predict the FTSE 100 will open around five points higher than yesterday's close of 6,838.87l.
According to Michael Hewson, Chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets UK: "For now investors appear to be of the opinion that the move yesterday was nothing more than a little caution being exercised in a thin market in the absence of any significant further positive reasons for pushing markets to new record levels, after last week's European Central Bank, and US employment report prompted rally.
"As far as today's market activity is concerned it is worth keeping one eye on the deteriorating situation in Iraq, particularly if events there spiral further out of control and cause oil prices
to spike higher, which could spook investors, already a little bit twitchy about high valuations."
Eurozone industrial production, French inflation and US retail sales and jobless claims data will be released today, livening up what has so far been a quiet week for economic data.
Industrial output in the euro-area is expected to rise by 0.9% year-on-year in April following a 0.1% drop a month earlier.
French inflation data is expected to show a 0.8% year-on-year rise in May on a harmonised basis amid concerns of price instability in the Eurozone.
In the US, a report on retail sales is predicted to reveal a 0.6% increase for May after a 0.1% rise the previous month.
US initial jobless claims are expected to have climbed 309,000 in the week ended June 7th, after 312,000 claims the prior week.
In the view of SpreadEx's Lee Mumford, the data "could soon change sentiment".
The Federal Reserve is monitoring the labour market to determine whether to continue tapering bond purchasing and decide on the timing of an interest rate hike.
On the company front, home improvement retailer Kingfisher has announced Philippe Tible, Chief Executive of Castorama & Brico Depot brands, is stepping down from the board at the end of July. He will also leave as a member of the group executive team but will remain with the business until the end of the current financial year to assist in talks to buy Mr Bricolage.
Engineering company Atkins revealed a solid set of full-year figures and said positive momentum continues into 2014/15, as it keeps its outlook unchanged and in line with expectations. Underlying pre-tax profit for the year ended March 31st rose 7.3% to £106.4m, while revenue increased 2.6% to £1.75bn. The full-year dividend has been increased by 5.5% to 33.75p, on underlying diluted earnings per share up 3.8%.
Consumer products group PZ Cussons said that annual profits will be ahead of last year, but that adverse currency movements will have a big impact on growth. The company, well known for its bath product ranges such as Imperial Leather and Original Source, as well as a range of home care and food products, also said that trading conditions "remain challenging" in most markets.
Argos and Homebase owner Home Retail reported a good start to the year and said it was on track to hit annual targets, but cautioned that it faced a challenge to match a strong second quarter last year.