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London pre-open: Stocks to rise as retail sales, PMIs in focus

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Friday 23 Oct 2020

London pre-open: Stocks to rise as retail sales, PMIs in focus

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were set to rise at the open on Friday as investors mulled better-than-expected UK retail sales data, ahead of readings on the manufacturing and services sectors.
The FTSE 100 was called to open 15 points higher at 5,800.

Data out earlier from the Office for National Statistics showed retail sales rose 1.5% on the month in September following 0.9% growth the month before, beating expectations for a 0.4% increase.

Deputy national statistician for Economic Statistics Jonathan Athow said: "Retail sales increased again in September, the fifth consecutive month of growth since the record falls seen at the start of the pandemic.

"Food stores and online retailers have fared particularly well in recent months, and most other store types have now recovered to pre-pandemic levels too after being subject to temporary closures during restrictions in the spring. Spending on home improvement and gardening items in particular have boosted sales.

"Clothing store sales have been slower to recover and fuel sales remain subdued as people continue to work from home and have reduced the amount they travel."

Investors were also looking ahead to the release of Markit's October flash PMIs for the manufacturing and services sectors, due at 0930 BST.

In corporate news, Barclays reported better-than-expected third quarter profits on the back of a strong performance from its consumer businesses as bad loan provisions fell sharply from the previous three months.

The bank posted a pre-tax profit £1.1 billion for the three months to September, compared with £200m a year ago and double analysts' forecasts. Impairment and provision charges were £608m, up 32%, but two thirds lower than the previous three months.


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