London pre-open: Stocks seen weaker on downbeat US and Asian cues
London stocks were set for a weaker open on Wednesday following downbeat sessions in the US and Asia.
The FTSE 100 was expected to open down 40 points at 7,287.
CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "Having seen some decent gains so far this year there appears to be increasing evidence that markets are starting to look a little tired. The first clues appeared yesterday when US markets after racing out of the blocks on Monday found it difficult to hold onto a lot of their gains, even if the Dow did manage to finish the day higher. The S&P500 on the other hand declined for the third day in succession, its worst run of losses since August.
"This declining momentum has been something that has been particularly notable in European markets since the peaks back in early November, and while we have managed to find some level of support for most of the past week or so, the subsequent rebounds have been getting shallower.
"As a result of last night’s weak US finish, markets in Europe look set to open lower this morning as US politicians look to pick apart the two different incarnations of the US tax bill and try and pass it into a format that both houses can agree on."
There are no major UK data releases due but in the US, the ADP employment report is at 1315 GMT, along with non-farm productivity.
In corporate news, shopping centre owner Hammerson has agreed to buy FTSE 350 rival Intu Properties in a £3.4bn all-share deal that will create a £21bn portfolio across Europe.
Hammerson, which has received support from shareholders holding 51% of Intu's stock, plans to strengthen the balance sheet and provide funds for reinvestment with a £2bn property disposal programme once the deal is concluded.
Medical technology business Smith & Nephew has completed the acquisition of Rotation Medical Inc, which develops novel tissue regeneration technology for shoulder rotator cuff repair, for $125m, with a further $85m due over the next five years contingent on financial performance.
The company said Rotation Medical's rotator cuff system is "highly complementary" to its existing portfolio of shoulder repair technologies to supplement repairs of more complex tears.
GlaxoSmithKline released new data from a Phase III clinical study on Wednesday, which it said supports the safety and efficacy of Shingrix in preventing shingles when given to adults 18 years and above shortly after undergoing autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplant.
The drugmaker said Shingrix is a non-live, recombinant adjuvanted subunit vaccine given intramuscularly in two doses. It said the ZOE-HSCT study succeeded in its primary objective by demonstrating an efficacy of 68.17% against shingles in subjects above 18 years of age after receiving an autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplant.
Marine engineering services group James Fisher has bought Lancashire-based EDS, which provides a complete range of high voltage engineering services to the renewables industry, for up to £14.6m.
The company will pay an initial consideration of £9m in cash, with a potential further consideration of up to £5.6m subject to profit targets for the two years ending 30 September 2019. For the year to the end of September 2017, EDS generated adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £1.8m and unaudited profit after tax of £1.2m.