Markets Overview: (Source: Bloomberg, FT, Reuters, DJ Newswires)
FTSE 100 Index called to open -50pts at 7640, well off this week’s 7715 highs, but still holding above 3-week rising support around 7600. Bulls need a break above 7660 highs of the last few hours. Bears require a breach of 7630. Watch levels: Bullish 7660, Bearish 7630
Calls for a negative open come after broad declines in Asia as equity investors react to White House threats to impose another $200bn of tariffs on Chinese goods. This is in retaliation to China’s matching of initial $34bn in US import duties. With Beijing pledging to retaliate in kind again, this has served to revive the threat of a trade war after several days of welcome calm.
FTSE’s Energy shares aren’t helped by oil prices coming off July highs, in spite of a bullish API inventory report last night (same from EIA this afternoon?). That said, the trade-induced risk off mood isn’t seeing investors rush to the traditional safe-havens of JPY and gold, both trading lower as the USD trades firm. Along with trade fears, this is hurting metals like Copper and Miners traded lower down-under overnight (BHP -1.3%, Rio -1.8%.), which could be matched in London this morning.
In corporate news this morning, Twenty-First Century Fox ups its offer for remaining 60.1% stake in Sky by 30%, to 1400p/share, to outbid Comcast’s current 1250p/share.
Sainsbury has named City boardroom grandee Martin Scicluna (prev. at RSA, GPOR, LLOY, WPG and Deloitte) as new Chairman, to guide the £15bn merger with ASDA. Barratt Developments expects full year pre-tax profits +9%, ahead of consensus, with 50bp margin expansion. Net cash ahead of guidance too. Completions +1%, average selling price +5%, forward sales +5.6% excl. JVs
Burberry Q1 comparable sales +3% (flat at current FX), reiterates full year guidance, FX headwinds easing, on track for £100m cost savings. Micro Focus H1 revenues -8% at constant FX, EBITDA +6.4%; guidance for 6 to 9% full year revenue decline reiterated with 37% adj. EBITDA margin at mid-point of revenue range.
JD Wetherspoon 10 week sales +5.2% like-for-like, +5.6% total, expects FY in-line with expectations, but like this year sees considerable cost rises in coming year (rates, sugar, utilities, wages). Indivior says previous full year 2018 guidance no longer valid. Pagegroup 2018 Operating profit expected to be slightly ahead of consensus of current market forecasts.
In focus today: the NATO Summit in Brussels. Will Trump keep up the aggressive G7-like rhetoric against supposed allies, before a controversial trip to the UK and then on to Helsinki to see Putin? Sparks (or maybe Starburst) could fly again if Trump continues his trade threats and demands for more military spending from Europe.
In terms of speakers, two Central Bank chiefs take centre-stage today. ECB President Draghi (8am) and Chief Economist Praet (8:30am) address an ECB statistics conference in Frankfurt. The EUR could be sensitive to any sound bites on growth or inflation. Bank of England Governor Carney (4:30pm) speaks in Boston at the Global Financial Crisis conference. Might he have anything to say that moves GBP and/or the FTSE?
In terms of data, US Producer Price Inflation (1:30pm), which often serves as a leading indicator of the more influential consumer price inflation, is expected to rise in June, with both headline (est. 3.2% vs. 3.1% in May) and core (est. 2.6% vs. 2.4% in May) metrics posting higher numbers, vindicating the Fed’s hiking cycle. Likewise, US May Wholesale Inventories (3pm), an important GDP component, are expected +0.5% after a March-April dip to near breakeven.
EIA Oil Inventories (3:30pm) are expected to deliver another 4.5m drawdown, supported by last night’s larger than expected 6.8m API crude draw. With the OPEC Monthly Report (12:30pm) also released today, it could prove an eventful day for Energy watchers and Oil traders.
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