London pre-open: Stocks seen higher as investors digest Fed minutes
Stocks in London were expected to open higher on Thursday as investors digested the latest minutes from the Federal Reserve.
London’s FTSE 100 was set to open 39 points higher than Wednesday’s close at 6,898.
The minutes from the Fed’s 26-27 policy meeting released on Wednesday showed a continued reluctance to jump to any conclusions about the state of the economy.
Policymakers were divided on the pace of rate hikes needed, meaning a September move is unlikely.
The minutes stated that, regarding the near-term outlook, members of the Federal Open Markets Committee "generally agreed that the prompt recovery in financial markets following the Brexit vote and the pickup in job gains in June had alleviated two key uncertainties about the outlook that they had faced at the time of the June meeting”.
CMC Markets’ Michael Hewson said: “If anyone were hoping for some clarity with respect to the latest FOMC minutes they would have been sorely disappointed as all they revealed was a truly split central bank.
“While all members appeared to agree that the economic outlook was much more certain in the wake of the Brexit vote, that was pretty much where the consensus ended with the remainder of the FOMC split three ways between those who are reluctant to move on rates at all, those who feel the time is getting closer, and two members who wanted to raise rates right away. Judging from the overall tone of the minutes it would appear the reality is that a strong US dollar, combined with weakening inflation gauges appears to be preventing the Fed from pulling the trigger.”
On the data front, UK retail sales are at 0930 BST. In the US, initial jobless claims and the Philadelphia Fed survey are at 1330 BST, while leading indicators are at 1500 BST.
In corporate news, sales slowed only slightly in the second quarter for Kingfisher as B&Q and Screwfix grew strongly in the UK and Ireland to offset a decline in France.
Chief executive Véronique Laury called the group like-for-like rise of 3.0% a "solid" sales performance, after the 3.6% gain in the first quarter, adding that management remain cautious on the short-term outlook although there had been no clear evidence of any Brexit impact on demand so far.
Having overcome a technical failure early last month, Fresnillo's San Julián milling facility has successfully begun processing ore and operations at the leaching plant were on Thursday confirmed as having run "normally" for a week.
The $515m silver-gold project has an expected average production of 10.3m ounces of silver and 44,000 ounces of gold per year once the second phase is commissioned by year-end and it reaches full capacity.
Crude oil began flowing from Tullow Oil´s TEN fields offshore Ghana on time and on budget.
First oil had started being pumped to its floating production offtake vessel Prof. John Evans Atta Mills from the Tweneboa, Enyenra, Ntomme (TEN), the company said in a statement.
Significantly, the project was thus far running both on schedule and within budget.