London pre-open: Stocks seen weaker ahead of UK data slew, US GDP
London stocks were set to fall at the open on Wednesday following a downbeat Asian session, ahead of a slew of UK data releases and US GDP figures.
The FTSE 100 was called to open around 20 points lower at 7,435.
CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "Yesterday saw another soft session for markets in Europe on the back of more light profit taking as we ease closer to month end, and what has been a strong month for stock markets.
"US markets also struggled initially but found the downside limited after comments from Federal Reserve governor Christopher Waller that monetary policy was currently well positioned to slow the economy and get inflation back to target.
"This was taken to mean that the Fed was not only done on when it comes to further rate hikes, but also that rate cuts could come sooner rather than later. He went on to say that if disinflation starts to become a concern, then rates could be cut in response, rather undermining the recent narrative put forward by Fed chairman Jay Powell that rates needed to stay higher for longer.
"The sharp fall in the US 2-year yield to 3-month lows along with the US dollar, however his remarks were tempered by more hawkish comments from another Fed governor Michelle Bowman who argued that more rate hikes might be needed due to the continued resilience of the US economy."
On the macroeconomic front, third-quarter US GDP figures are due at 1330 GMT. On home shores, net lending, consumer credit and mortgage approvals data for October are scheduled for release at 0930 GMT.
In corporate news, Pennon Group reported a 5.4% increase in underlying revenue in its half-year results, to £448.6m, due to inflationary tariff hikes balanced by regulatory adjustments to minimise the impact on customer bills.
Underlying profit before tax slid 59.6% to £9.1m due to inflation-driven costs, but the water utility expected an improvement in the second half.
It said it was actively investing in sustainable growth, with a significant increase in capital investment and a focus on environmental improvements, while maintaining its commitment to customer support and low bill increases.
Hargreaves Lansdown announced that chair Deanna Oppenheimer is to step down from the board after six years following mounting pressure from shareholders calling for her exit.
Ahead of the financial services firm's annual general meeting on 8 December, speculation had risen that shareholders would vote against Oppenheimer's re-election.
On Tuesday, proxy voting firm Glass Lewis reportedly sent investors a letter urging them to vote against her at the AGM, according to Sky News.
Oppenheimer will be replaced by Alison Platt, the current chair of Dechra Pharmaceuticals and Ageas UK and the former chief executive of Countrywide.