London pre-open: Stocks set for higher start, tracking gains on Wall Street
Shares in London are set for a slightly higher start on Thursday morning, tracking gains overnight on Wall Street after the US central bank signalled that interest rate cuts were on the table.
The FTSE 100 was expected to start the session 17 points higher, having closed down 0.08% at 7,530.69 on Wednesday.
Overnight, the S&P 500 finished 0.45% higher after Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell told the US Congress that there were multiple headwinds bearing down on the US economy from overseas - not least from trade - and that inflation pressures were limited and risked falling persistently below target.
In parallel, the minutes of the Fed's mid-June policy meeting, which were published shortly afterwards, revealed that “many” rate-setters in the US had supported a rate cut last month.
Reckitt comes clean
Reckitt Benckiser said it had agreed to pay to $1.4bn to resolve all US federal investigations in connection with the sales and marketing of Suboxone Film by its former prescription pharmaceuticals business Indivior. Indivior had been accused of illegally boosting prescriptions for its opioid addiction treatment by the US Justice Department. The deal was struck with US Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission. Indivior was demerged from Reckitt in 2014.
Technical products supplier Diploma on Thursday said it had bought the assets and trade of Virginia Sealing Products for £56m. VSP supplies gaskets and fluid sealing products to the industrial maintenance, repair and overhaul market. Further deferred payments up to £8m may be payable in late 2020 subject to achievement of operating profit targets, Diploma said.
Workspace Group reported a “good level” of customer demand in its first quarter on Thursday, with enquiries averaging 1,060 per month, compared to 1,021 a year ago, and lettings standing at 121 per month, up from 88. The FTSE 250 real estate investment trust added two new buildings, in Hoxton and Clerkenwell, and one building extension and refurbishment in Chiswick during the quarter.