London pre-open: Stocks seen lower ahead of jobs data
(ShareCast News) - London stocks were set for a weaker open on Wednesday as investors eyed the release of UK unemployment data, after the FTSE 100 closed above 7,500 for the first time in the previous session.
The FTSE 100 was expected to open 17 points lower at 7,505.
CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "Even allowing for the fact that the Bank of England is likely to look through this rise in prices, the fact that some officials on the MPC have limited tolerance for higher prices is likely to spice up the debate about the wisdom of keeping rates at their current low levels, particularly given the fact that last August's rate cut may well have exacerbated the effects of what we are seeing now, in terms of rising inflation. There was a silver lining though given that input prices do appear to be starting come back down albeit from quite high levels.
"While prices continue to edge higher it is therefore equally important that wages don't lag too far behind and today's wages data should give an important insight into that. In last month's data, average earnings in the 3 months to February rose 2.3%, and it is expected that the March numbers will see a move up to 2.4%. The ILO unemployment rate for the same period is expected to remain steady, at 4.7%."
The unemployment rate, average earnings and the claimant count are all due at 0930 BST.
On the corporate front, British Land reported a much stronger net asset value at its year end than the market was expecting and, despite the ongoing uncertainty around the economy, said it was confident of generating better returns in the year ahead.
The FTSE 100 property developer recorded an EPRA NAV almost flat at 915p, with net assets at £9.5bn at its 31 March year end, down from £9.6bn over the year.
Energy company SSE posted its preliminary results for the year to 31 March, with the board lifting its recommended full-year dividend by 2.1% to 91.3p while adjusted earnings per share were up 5.2% at 125.7p.
The company said its adjusted dividend cover was towards the top of its expected range at 1.38 times, while adjusted operating profit improved 2.7% to £1,874.0m.
Adjusted profit before tax was 2.1% higher at £1,545.9m, and adjusted profit after tax was up 6.1% to £1,268.9m.