- Strong finish in US with S&P at record high
- FTSE to open lower
- Focus on US ADP jobs survey
UK stocks are set to open lower today, despite another record performance by the S&P 500
in the US as well as strong gains in Japan overnight.
City sources predict the FTSE 100 will open 19 points below yesterday's close of 6,823.77.
Financial Sales Trader at Spreadex, Lee Mumford, said: "The global rebound continued overnight during a positive Asian session after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he sees no immediate need to invade Ukraine. With a receding threat of war between Ukraine and Russian, equities have managed to erase all of Monday's loses."
The easing of tensions in eastern Europe saw US markets soar on Tuesday, rebounding strongly after a sell-off the day before and helping the S&P 500 to hit another record high.
The benchmark S&P 500 finished 1.5% higher at an all-time high of 1,873.91, surpassing its previous high of 1,859.45 reached on Friday; this was the index's 49th record in the last 12 months.
Sentiment recovered after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he saw no need yet to send troops into Ukraine, with heavyweight blue chips in the industrial and financial sectors helping markets to rebound after being hit by a reduction in risk appetite on Monday.
Focus turns to macro data both at home and abroad
On the macro front today, reports out early on will include the UK services purchasing managers' index (PMI), euro-area retail sales and Eurozone gross domestic product figures.
Later on in the US, the agenda includes weekly mortgage applications data, ADP's employment figures and ISM's non-manufacturing PMI.
Mumford added: "With tensions between Ukraine and Russia eroding, investors will be keeping a close eye on a string of economic data due later today. Ahead of monthly non-farm employment data realised on Friday, ADP non-farm data today could give investors further clues on the state of the employment market.
"Over in Europe, with retail sales in January showing an encouraging sign, investors will keep a close eye on today's data to see if it follows suit."
Legal & General ups divi following record results
Legal & General raised its full-year dividend by 22% to 9.30p after delivering record 2013 results. Profit before tax grew 10% to £1.13bn and operating profit jumped 7% to £1.15bn as the financial services company achieved growth across all areas of business.
Industrial conglomerate Melrose saw adjusted profits almost double in 2013, helped by a full year's contribution from Elster, the gas, electricity and water metering company acquired the previous year. The company, which streamlined operations during the year through the disposal of five businesses from the FKI acquisition in 2008, said it is now "ready and keen to buy again". Headline profit before tax totalled £226.1m, up from £117.9m in 2012. The prior year's results only included four months of Elster.
Rentokil Initial has acquired Bestway, a Chilean provider of pest control, hygiene and other office services that also has a smaller, start-up operation in Colombia. With 2013 revenues of £11m, it employs 274 people and brings an experienced local management team into the group, Rentokil said.
Irish builders merchants and DIY group Grafton ramped up full-year profit and its dividend payment as trading conditions improved in the UK and Ireland. Underlying pre-tax profit rose 35% to £64.9m in the year ended December 31st while revenue increased 8% to £1.9bn. The company said it is confident of building on its strong performance into 2014.