London pre-open: Stocks seen weaker amid concerns about Trump

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London pre-open: Stocks seen weaker amid concerns about Trump

Thu, 18 May 2017
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London pre-open: Stocks seen weaker amid concerns about Trump

(ShareCast News) - London stocks were set for a weaker open on Thursday, taking their cue from downbeat sessions in the US and Asia amid growing concerns that US President Trump could be impeached.
The FTSE 100 was expected to open 50 points lower at 7,453.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "President Trump has enjoyed an almost Teflon like existence since being in the White House with markets prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt on a number of occasions despite his tendency to stagger from one controversy to another.

"This latest one involving ex FBI head James Comey has sparked concerns that this could be Trump's Watergate moment, with Democrat Congressman Al Green of the Democratic Party calling for his impeachment, for allegedly attempting to influence an ongoing FBI investigation."

On the data front, UK retail sales are at 0930 BST.

In corporate news, GlaxoSmithKline said its mepolizumab treatment met co-primary efficacy endpoints and all secondary endpoints in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study on patients who have a form of vasculitis.

Patients treated with mepolizumab had a significantly greater accrued time in remission over the 52-week treatment period compared to placebo, with 28% of patients on mepolizumab achieving remission for at least 24 weeks versus 3% on placebo, GSK said.

In addition, a higher proportion of patients in the mepolizumab group were in remission at both weeks 36 and 48 compared to the placebo group (32% vs 3%), GSK said.

Energy network operator National Grid posted its final results for the year to 31 March, with its operating profit rising 14% to £4.67bn on an adjusted basis, and its profit before tax improving 13% to £3.56bn.

The company said total adjusted earnings per share were 73p, a rise of 16%, while its total adjusted earnings per share excluding timing were up 6% at 66.1p.

Total group return on equity was 11.7%, dropping from 12.3% in the 2016 financial year.

Investec reported a 18.5% increase in full-year statutory operating profits to £599.1m which drove a 6.3% rise in statutory earnings per share to 48.3p. That was despite the macroeconomic uncertainty impacting its two key markets, according to the company.

Third party assets under management rose 23.9% to £150.7bn on a currency neutral basis. Capital remained in excess of current regulatory requirements, Investec said, adding that it is comfortable with its common equity tier 1 ratio target of 10.0%. The board proposed a final dividend of 13.0p, taking the full-year payout to 23.0p.

Burberry reported annual profits at the upper end of expectations and promised investors a new £300m share buyback.

On revenue of £2.8bn in the year to 31 March, which had already been announced, the beige-checked fashion house delivered adjusted profits of £462m, which were up 10% at the reported level and down 21% at the underlying level.