Portfolio

London pre-open: Stocks seen muted ahead of Fed minutes

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Wednesday 21 Aug 2019

London pre-open: Stocks seen muted ahead of Fed minutes

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were set for a muted open on Wednesday as investors eyed the release of the latest minutes from the US Federal Reserve.
The FTSE 100 was called to open five points lower at 7,120.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "Today's minutes are likely to give markets an insight into the discussions over the need for a cut, with St. Louis Fed President James Bullard the main driver behind the decision to move given his dissent in June, when the Fed kept rates on hold.

"In particular there is likely to be interest as to whether there was any discussion about whether a cut was even necessary, or more importantly whether an even bigger cut of 50bps was discussed.

"Discussions in this area should give an insight into whether there is an appetite for further cuts amongst policymakers, and how they see the US economy. This is especially important at a time when the cries for more cuts are getting louder, particularly from the US President.

"The tone of the discussions will also give a steer as to whether markets are right to expect another move in September, though the upcoming payrolls report at the beginning of September is likely to be a key milestone with respect to that determination, as well as this week's central bank symposium at Jackson Hole Wyoming, where the speech from Fed chair Jay Powell could well offer some key signposting as to whether the Feds reaction function has changed since that July meeting."

The Fed minutes are due out at 1900 BST. On the UK macro calendar, public sector net borrowing figures are out at 0930 BST.

In corporate news, AstraZeneca said that a recent phase III lung cancer trial saw its Imfinzi (durvalumab) drug fail to meet the primary endpoint of improving overall survival compared to standard chemotherapy treatment when combined with tremelimumab antibodies.

The drug is also being tested as a monotherapy and in combination with chemotherapy in separate clinical trials.

Hammerson has appointed former AIG executive James Lenton as its new chief financial officer with effect from 1 October.

The company said that Lenton, who succeeds Timon Drakesmith, has extensive experience in financing, rigorous capital allocation and business transformation, gained through senior roles at global financial and professional services organisations.

Inchcape announced that Gijsbert de Zoeten would join the company as chief financial officer-designate on 27 August, and would join the board as an executive director and assume the full CFO role from 1 September. The

FTSE 250 company had previously announced that Richard Howes was formally stepping down from the board and leaving the group on 31 August, to take up the position of CFO at Bunzl.

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