London pre-open: Stocks seen higher as North Korea tensions ease
(ShareCast News) - London stocks were set for a firmer open on Monday, taking their cue from an upbeat session in Asia as worries about North Korea receded.
The FTSE 100 was expected to open 28 points higher at 7,405 as investors set aside their worries about North Korea - at least for now - breathing a sigh of relief that the country chose not to launch more missiles to celebrate its 69th anniversary over the weekend.
Still, market participants are likely to continue to keep an eye on any tensions between the US and North Korea, as well as the impact of Hurricane Irma.
There are no major UK data releases due on Monday, but this week sees the release of some key data and the latest Bank of England policy announcement.
CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "It's also set to be a big week for the pound with the release of the latest inflation and wages data, amidst concerns that the recent rise in inflation may yet deliver a final kick to the UK consumer. There is evidence that wage growth might well be starting to bottom out, which this week's numbers might well corroborate further.
"An improvement in wages could well add further weight to the arguments being made by the Bank of England MPC member Michael Saunders and his calls to reverse last year's emergency rate cut."
In corporate news, Associated British Foods said group operating profits will be "well ahead" of last year after its Primark clothing arm was able to reduce levels of price promotion, with the sugar business also adding a hefty spoonful to the bottom line.
Agriculture profit will be lower than last year due to strong competition and higher raw material costs in the UK and China feeds, while grocery profits are also expected to be down on flat revenues as margin decline at Allied Bakeries amid strong bread competition in the UK and inflation pressures.
Vodafone's Germany division is to invest around €2bn of "incremental capital expenditure" by the end of the 2021 calendar year in gigabit ultrafast fibre broadband services, it announced on Monday, which it said are expected to deliver around 13.7 million new gigabit connections to German consumers and enterprises.
The FTSE 100 company said the connections would comprise 'Giga-Business', targeting 100,000 companies in around 2,000 business parks; 'Giga-Municipality', where it would partner with local municipalities to reach around a million consumer homes; and 'Giga-Cable', where it would upgrade existing cable infrastructure to Vodafone's 12.6 million cabled homes.