London pre-open: Stocks set for muted start ahead of busy week
London stocks were set for a muted open on Monday as investors eyed a busy week for corporate releases and the crowning of a new Prime Minister.
The FTSE 100 was called to open flat at 7,508.
CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said sterling will be in the spotlight, "with the results of the Conservative party leadership contest widely expected to see Boris Johnson confirmed as Theresa May’s replacement as Prime Minister".
"The pound had another negative week last week, weighed down over concerns that whoever takes over will keep the prospect of 'no deal' Brexit on the table.
"It’s somewhat surprising markets have only just woken up to this, given that in the absence of a revocation of article 50, or the passing of a deal, it remains the legal default option. These are the only two options in the hands of the UK parliament, with the granting of an extension in the hands of the EU."
On the data front, the CBI industrial trends survey is at 1100 BST.
In corporate news, embattled high street lender Metro Bank confirmed it was in talks to sell a mortgage portfolio.
“There can be no certainty at this stage that an agreement will be reached. A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate,” the bank said in a statement.
Media reports over the weekend said Metro was in talks on a £500m deal to offload a mortgage portfolio back to a US hedge fund Cerberus Capital Management, from which it has bought more than £1bn of assets in recent years.
Anglo American Platinum reported a 120% leap in interim headline earnings to ZAR7.4bn after the South Africa-based company's sales revenues jumped by 28% to ZAR42.9bn due to higher metals prices.
Total production of platinum group metals edged 2% lower to 2.1m ounces after power outages and strike action hampered growth but the FTSE 100-listed miner still maintained full year guidelines of 4.2m to 4.5m ounces.
First half pre-tax profits at information company Ascential rose to £30.5m from £23.1m as revenue increased 25% to £236m.
The company said it was trading in line with expectations for the full year, adding that it was confident of delivering its medium-term target to achieve double-digit growth.