London pre-open: FTSE 100 to start higher after remarks from MPC's Broadbent
(ShareCast News) - Shares are expected to begin the session trading on the front foot on the back of dovish comments from the Monetary Policy Committee's Ben Broadbent and ahead of eagerly-awaited testimony from US central bank chief Janet Yellen later in the day.
In an interview with the Press & Journal newspaper, Broadbent said he was not yet ready to vote for an interest rate hike.
"In my opinion, it is a bit tricky at the moment to make a decision. I am not ready to do it yet," he said.
The Footsie was being called to start the day 21 points higher from Tuesday's closing level of 7,329.76.
Yellen was scheduled to deliver her semi-annual monetary policy report to the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee at 1500 BST.
Investors were keen to assess what hints Yellen might offer regarding the prospects for a September start to slowly unwinding the Federal Reserve's balance sheet and for additional rate hikes later in 2017.
"Speculation has continued to grow as to the timing of when the Federal Reserve could start to pare down its balance sheet and whether this process would happen alongside the prospect of further rate rises.
"Such a move would in all probability be a little on the risky side, tightening policy from two different directions, and will be a process the Fed will need to be able to communicate effectively in the coming months," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.
Before that, at 0930 BST ONS was set to publish its unemployment data for the month of May, with investors keen to see the latest wage growth data in particular.
"Today's wages data is likely to be closely scrutinised for evidence of a pickup in wage growth having seen a few months of weak and below inflation increases. Last month we saw weekly earnings for April rise 1.7% excluding bonuses, well below the 2.9% CPI numbers, which are due out next week," Hewson added.
Setting the stage for Yellen's testimony (although Broadbent may already have done that) Bank of Canada was to announce its interest rate decision at 1300 BST.
Rate-setters in Ottawa were widely-expected to raise their key rate by 25 basis points to 0.75%, although there were some sceptics among the analyst community - including those at Goldman Sachs.
SFO opens investigation into AMEC
Amec Foster Wheeler has come under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office over its work with consultant Unaoil and possible bribery and corruption offences. The engineer insisted it did not expect the probe to have an impact on its takeover by John Wood Group, which it said was still expected to take place in the fourth quarter of this year. (edited)
Barratt Developments claimed to be the UK's largest housebuilder in a trading update on Wednesday, reporting total completions in its full year to 30 June - including those from joint ventures - of 17,395. The FTSE 250 company said that was 76 more completions than those completed in the 2016 financial year, and was also the highest level of completions in nine years. Profit before tax was expected to increase to around £765m, the board reported, up from £682.3m and ahead of market expectations.
New Burberry chief executive Marco Gobbetti began his reign with a solid first quarter and a promise to create "new energy to drive growth" amid what he said was "a time of great change" for the company and the wider luxury industry.
Retail revenue of £478m in the three months to 30 June was up 13% compared to the same period last year or up 3% on an underlying basis if currencies rates are ignored.