London pre-open: Stocks seen up as investors eye US retail sales
London stocks were set to rise at the open on Friday following heavy losses earlier in the week, as investors eyed the release of US retail sales data.
The FTSE 100 was called to open 36 points higher at 6,999.
CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "In what’s been quite a turbulent week, European markets managed to close well off their lows yesterday, and while the FTSE 100 wasn’t quite able to reverse all of its losses on the day, due to weakness in energy and basic resources, we did see some stabilisation after what can only be characterised as a week of high volatility and some heavy selling pressure.
"Today’s European session looks set to start on a positive note after yesterday’s US rebound, however as the UK gets set for a further relaxation of restrictions next Monday, there is some apprehension about a rise in cases of the Indian variant in some parts of England, with some calling for Monday’s relaxation to be delayed."
On the macro font, US retail sales figures for April are due at 1330 BST.
They will give yet another insight into the US consumer’s mindset at a time when the US economy continues to reopen more broadly, and more people are starting to travel, Hewson said.
"It is notable that the US consumer has been much more resilient this year, helped in no small part by significant amounts of fiscal stimulus, while the recovery in the US jobs market has also helped."
In UK corporate news, Sage said it expected annual organic revenue growth to be near the top of its guidance after investment in its cloud operation prompted a decline in first-half profit. Underlying operating profit fell 11% to £191m in the six months to the end of March from a year earlier as organic recurring revenue rose 4.4% to £811m. Statutory operating profit dropped 30% to £203m as statutory revenue fell 4% to £937m.
The business software group predicted the increase in organic recurring revenue would be near the top of its guidance range of 3-5% and that other revenue would decline in line with strategy. Sage increased its interim dividend by 2% to 6.05p a share.
Private equity firm Cinven said its approach to fund administration services provider Sanne about a possible takeover at 830p a share had been rejected.
Cinven confirmed it had put the proposal, worth £1.3bn, to Sanne on Wednesday and was now considering its position.