London pre-open: Stocks seen lower ahead of US jobless claims
London stocks were set to fall at the open on Thursday following strong gains in the previous session, as investors eyed the latest US jobless claims.
The FTSE 100 was called to open 40 points lower at 6,240.
CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "Today’s European session is likely to see a slightly softer open with today’s focus set to be on this afternoons US weekly jobless claims numbers.
"Weekly claims are expected to fall to 1.12m, while continuing claims are estimated to fall below 16m to 15.89m, however this could just as easily go the other way, if there is a sudden pick up, post 31st July."
In UK corporate news, bus operator National Express swung to a half year loss after the coronavirus lockdown led to an 80% slump in passenger traffic.
The company reported a pre-tax loss of £122.2m from a profit of £88.4m a year earlier as revenue fell 22.7% to £1.03bn. Core earnings slumped to £88.3m from £243m in 2019.
It added that a gradual service restart was showing “encouraging early signs of demand returning as restrictions are eased”, but activity remained “at much suppressed levels”. No guidance for the full year was provided.
GVC Holdings reported a 14% drop in first-half profit as online revenue helped offset the shutdown of the company's retail bookmaking operations during the Covid-19 crisis.
Underlying operating profit for the six months to the end of June dropped to £223.9m from £260.3m as net gaming revenue fell 11 £1.62bn. The company said it expected to report underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £720-£740m for 2020.