London pre-open: Stocks seen down after US losses
London stocks were set for a slightly weaker open on Wednesday following heavy losses on Wall Street.
The FTSE 100 was called to open nine points lower at 7,616.
CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "European markets underwent another negative session yesterday, with the DAX and CAC 40 slipping to their lowest levels in six months, as firmer yields and stagflation concerns kept markets on the back foot.
"We could also be seeing the result of technical effects after both the French and German benchmarks fell below their respective 200-day SMA’s earlier this week.
"US markets also slipped back with the S&P500 and Nasdaq 100 closing at their lowest levels since early June, after US consumer confidence slowed more than expected in September, and new home sales slipped to a 5-month low.
"This weakness looks set to continue this morning with another soft start for European markets."
In corporate news, gambling company Flutter Entertainment said it had bought a 51% stake in Serbia's MaxBet for €141m (£123m), with an option to acquire the remaining 49% in 2029 based on performance.
MaxBet is the number 2 Serbian operator with an estimated 20% online share. It has more than 400 retail outlets across four markets and 95,000 online average monthly players, Flutter said.
"MaxBet has successfully capitalised on the fast-growing online market in Serbia which grew by 25% on a compound annual basis over the last five years."
Specialist insurer Hiscox said it had signed a deal to sell DirectAsia, its business operations in Singapore and Thailand to Ignite Thailand Holdings for an undisclosed sum.
DirectAsia was founded in Singapore in 2010 and launched into Thailand in 2013. Its primary business is motor, operating through a number of distribution channels. In 2022 it had gross written premiums of $52.5m.
Hiscox's decision to divest is part of the group's previously announced strategic review of the business to focus on key markets where it sees the greatest opportunities to maximise value for shareholders, the company said.
The transaction is expected to complete by the end of 2023.
Vanquis Banking Group announced the appointment of Dave Watts as its new chief financial officer, effective November, pending regulatory approval.
It said Watts would bring nearly 30 years of experience from HSBC, where he held significant CFO positions, including CFO of HSBC UK Bank between 2017 and 2021. Gareth Cronin, Vanquis’s interim CFO, would resume his duties as group chief risk officer.
Biotherapeutics company PureTech Health has appointed the boss of Arix Bioscience as its new chief portfolio officer. Robert Lyne, who has a decade of experience in international life science deals and portfolio management, along with governance and executive team leadership experience, will join the company in January 2024.