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London pre-open: Stocks seen steady after Wednesday's selloff

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Thursday 29 Oct 2020

London pre-open: Stocks seen steady after Wednesday's selloff

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were set for a steady open on Thursday following a heavy selloff in the previous session amid concerns about tightening Covid-19 restrictions across Europe.
The FTSE 100 was called to open four points lower at 5,578, having slumped 2.6% on Wednesday.

CMC Markets analyst David Madden said: "When the pandemic set in, medical experts warned that even if the virus is controlled during the summer months, the crisis is likely to pick-up in severity as winter approaches.

"That is exactly what we're are seeing at the moment. The fear in the markets is nowhere near as bad as it was back in February and March, but the mood music is the worst it has been since spring."

On Wednesday, both France and Germany announced a second national lockdown, while in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also under pressure to bring in another national lockdown.

In corporate news, Royal Dutch Shell unveiled a plan to increase dividends and cut debt as it swung to a small third quarter profit.

The energy giant lifted its dividend by 4% quarter on quarter to 16.65 cents a share and reported a $$177m profit on a current cost of supplies (CCS) basis, compared with a $18.4bn loss in the second quarter.

BT said that its first half revenue was "relatively resilient", falling 8% year-on-year to £10.59bn, which it put down to the impact of Covid-19, including reduced BT Sport revenue and a reduction in business activity in its enterprise units, and declines in legacy products.

The company said adjusted EBITDA was down 5% for the six months ended 30 September at £3.72bn, driven by the fall in revenue, partly offset by sports rights rebates, savings from its modernisation programme and other cost initiatives, including Covid-19 mitigating actions.

It lifted the lower end of its adjusted EBITDA outlook range for the 2021 financial year to £7.3bn, making for a revised range of between £7.3bn and £7.5bn.

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