London pre-open: Stocks set for gains ahead of Fed meeting
Stocks are set for a higher start ahead of the US central bank's policy announcement later in the day.
According to John Velis at BNY Mellon, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell will be pressed for greater clarity as to what he meant by recent remarks that he wanted to see a "string" of months of strong jobs gains before talking about any sort of tightening, with Barclays Research expecting that meant six months.
Nonetheless, market pricing for rate hikes was less hawkish going into Wednesday's Fed meeting than a month ago, Velis added.
Against that backdrop, Jeffrey Halley, Senior Market Analyst, Asia Pacific, OANDA, told clients: "Investors continue to reshuffle exposure ahead of today's US FOMC meeting, with equities trading sideways, the US Dollar rising modestly, and the long end of the US yield curve steepening.
"The scale of the shuffle, though, hints at caution and not panic. Assuming that the FOMC stays resolutely "on message," I expect buy everything business as usual to return shortly thereafter."
No major economic reports are scheduled for release in the UK.
LSE Group reports "good" trading, WPP beats
London Stock Exchange said it had a good first quarter as it reported a 4% increase in its favoured profit measure driven by growth in data and analytics and capital markets transactions. Gross profit excluding currency fluctuations and a deferred revenue adjustment rose 4% to £1.54bn in the three months to the end of March from a year earlier as total income excluding recoveries rose 3.9% to £1.68bn. Reported gross profit fell 0.5% and reported income fell 1.2%. All the figures exclude the acquisition of Refinitiv in January.
Reckitt Benckiser reported group like-for-like net revenue growth of 4.1% to £3.51bn in its first quarter on Wednesday, with like-for-like growth in its hygiene division standing at 28.5%. The FTSE 100 consumer products giant said its health operations saw a like-for-like decline of 13%, meanwhile, as its nutrition unit turned in a like-for-like decline of 7.4%. It left its outlook for 2021 unchanged, with the board saying the company remained on track with its medium-term goals.
Advertising giant WPP posted organic first quarter sales growth on a comparable basis of 3.1%, easily outpacing analysts' estimates for a dip of 0.37%. First quarter revenues on the other hand printed a tad below forecasts, coming in at £2.9bn (consensus: £2.98bn).