London pre-open: Stocks to fall after FOMC comments
London stocks were set for a weaker open on Thursday as investors mull the latest comments from the US Federal Reserve.
The FTSE 100 was called to open down 30 points at 7,155.
Oanda market analyst Jeffrey Halley said: "The Federal Reserve's FOMC meeting held a nasty surprise for investors; the dot plots of future rate hikes abruptly shifted forward en masse to 2023. And Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that the time was coming for a talk about starting to talk about beginning to talk about quantitative easing tapering.
"Mr Powell's pleas to take the abrupt shift in the dot plots ‘with a grain of salt’ fell on deaf airs as US yields rose, the US dollar spiked, equities fell, while gold and Bitcoin were stretchered off injured. With Fed officials having spent the weeks and months ahead of last night's FOMC meeting beating the inflation is transitory, it's all about the labour market, nothing to see here, move along mantra, the FOMC really did spoof financial markets overnight."
In corporate news, Premier Inn owner Whitbread maintained guidance despite an extension of the UK government’s lockdown, forecasting strong summer demand in coastal destinations.
The company said first-quarter like-for-like sales across its hotel and restaurant estate were down 71% compared with the same period in 2019 before the pandemic struck.
"Additionally, our forward bookings continue to improve, benefiting from the anticipated post-lockdown bounce in leisure demand, and a continued gradual improvement in business bookings. During the first quarter we opened 10 new hotels in the UK," said chief executive Alison Brittain.