- FTSE to track US stocks higher
- Chinese data comes in mixed
- Market awaits UK industrial production numbers
City sources predict the FTSE 100 will open nine points below yesterday's close of 6,559.48, as investors balance a new record high on the S&P 500
with mixed data out from China overnight.
The S&P 500 hit yet another record close last night as markets shrugged off heightened speculation surrounding Federal Reserve monetary policy. Equities were extending gains made Friday when the November jobs report came in much better than expected, with 203,000 non-farm payrolls being added and the jobless rate falling to 7%.
Early this morning data from China reported November retail sales rose 13.7% year-on-year and up from 13.3% the previous month. However, November industrial output slowed month-on-month to 10% (October: 10.3%). Fixed-asset investments - an indicator of the country's construction activity - climbed at an annualised 19.9% between January and November, down from 20.1% between January and October.
Meanwhile, on today's agenda in the UK, the latest industrial production numbers - courtesy of the Office for National Statistics - will inform market participants about whether the latest manufacturing sector surveys are to be believed, or to what extent. Government statisticians will also put out their October estimates for the country´s visible trade deficit for public scrutiny.
In other news, Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, last night rejected US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers's claim that wealthy countries have hit a barrier in technological innovation, saying "such worries have proven misplaced in the past and scepticism is warranted now".
Making a reference to Twitter, he added: "It seems unlikely that communicating in 140 characters - useful discipline though that is - represents the apex of human progress [...]"
"It is hard to think of any reason why there should have been a persistent deterioration in the rate of potential growth in Britain," he added.
On the company front, BG Group has raised its recoverable resources in Tanzania after drilling and testing. The oil and gas company said its Mzia discovery has 4.7trn cubic feet (tcf) of total gross recoverable resources and Blocks 1, 3 and 4 have an estimated 15 tcf.
WPP's wholly-owned operating company, GroupM, has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Vocanic Pte, a social media marketing business in Singapore. The acquisition furthers WPP's programme of developing its networks in fast-growth markets and sectors and continues its strategy of strengthening the group's capabilities in digital media, it said.
Lloyds has finally offloaded its remaining stake in FTSE 250 wealth management group St James's Place (SJP), as it continues its reduction of 'non-core' assets. The bank confirmed on Tuesday morning that it has placed 109m shares
at a price of 630p a piece, raising gross proceeds of £680m. This represented the bank's remaining 21% interest in SJP.
Whitbread, the owner of the Premier Inn and Costa chains, reported double-digit sales growth in the last quarter and said it is on track to deliver full-year results in line with expectations. Total like-for-like sales (LFL) rose 4.3% for the 13 weeks to November 28th, while total sales for the period increased 13.8% after strong performances from Premier Inn and Costa.
TUI Travel basked in the glory of record annual profits as margins sizzled during the peak summer period, particularly in the UK. Free cash flow rose 40% to £427m and earnings climbed 19% to 30.8p per share, ahead of consensus analyst forecasts of 29.2p.