- Modest rise expected on FTSE
- Carney and Draghi both due to speak at World Economic Forum
- Royal Mail posts two per cent rise in LFL nine month revenue
City sources predict the FTSE 100 will open seven points above yesterday's close of 6,773.28, ignoring a weak performance in both Asia and the US overnight.
Stateside, stocks sunk sharply on Thursday evening with the Dow Jones Industrial Average finishing at its lowest level in five weeks as markets reacted to weak data from China and mixed economic indicators in the US.
Craig Erlam, Market Analyst from Alpari, said: "The economic data has been relatively encouraging so far this year, there's just been a real lack of it over the last couple of weeks. There was a significant increase in the number of releases yesterday but things got off to a bad start as the Chinese manufacturing PMI fell back into contraction territory.
"Markets never really recovered from this disappointing start, despite some encouraging data from both the eurozone and the US, and that even appears to be carrying over into today."
Turning to today, while much of the focus will be on earnings in the absence of much economic data, attention will also be on the World Economic Forum in Davos, where both Bank of England (BoE) Govenor Mark Carney and President of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi are due to speak.
The BoE has previously vowed to keep its main interest rate at a record low of 0.5% at least until unemployment falls to 7%. However, Carney suggested yesterday that the BoE's forward guidance could be scrapped given that the economy was "in a different place" from last summer.
Royal Mail reported a 2% rise in like-for-like revenue for the nine months ended December 29th, driven by the parcel delivery business. Parcels accounted for 51% of revenue, with volumes at 115m in December during the Christmas period.
Cairn Energy, the oil and gas exploration and development group, has informed investors that it was contacted by the Income Tax Department of India to discuss income tax assessments for the year ending March 31st 2007. While discussions were ongoing, Cairn was instructed to hold its shares
in Cairn India, in which is has around a 10% stake.
Infrastructure investment group 3i Infrastructure said that its European portfolio continued to perform well operationally and financially in the third quarter and is generating good levels of income. The Jersey-headquartered firm said that this was consistent with its objective of paying a dividend of 5.5% of shareholders' equity for the full year ending March 31st.