FTSE 100: weekend futures point to mixed open

Interest rate decisions and company results loom on either side of the Atlantic for FTSE 100 shares as well as some key economic data releases.

FTSE 100 set for mixed open

FTSE 100 shares look set to open mixed this week as investors gear up for earnings season on either side of the Atlantic, plus some big economic data dumps from the US.

At the time of writing, IG's Weekend UK 100 index last traded at 5,790.2 points, down 9 points or just 0.16%. For reference, the FTSE 100 benchmark finished out last Friday’s session at the 5773.9 point mark.

Meanwhile, over the weekend the Dow Jones, from which the FTSE will take a lot of its lead this week, fell 37 points, or 0.2%, to be just above 23,715.00 points at 22:48 GMT. That’s down on Friday’s close of 23,775.27 points. The Dow Jones futures contract for June was changing hands at 23,639.00 points.

Both indexes are coming off a week that was dominated by the energy sector, after WTI’s May futures contract (US crude oil), sank below US$0 for the first time.

At the same time Brent crude, the category most of the rest of the world trades in, including the UK’s major energy companies, sank below US$20 a barrel during the week.

Interest rates, data and results

In the UK, interest rate decisions on either side of the Atlantic will likely play a large role for FTSE 100 shares. The European Central Bank and US Federal Reserve will meet to discuss monetary policy.

Both central banks have interest rates at ultra-low levels, in the eurozone’s case they’re at -0.5%. Both central banks also have quantitative easing programs in train. Investors will be more likely to expect an update from the central banks about how the European and US economies are holding up under Covid-19, and the progress of those programs, rather than additional action, however.

Sticking with economic releases, the eurozone April inflation flash reading on Thursday will be a focus for the UK, as investors look to what extent low oil prices have kept a lid on inflation. Flash eurozone first-quarter output figures, also due out on Thursday, should give investors a look at the health of the eurozone economy, before Covid-19 hit.

April manufacturing IHS Markit purchasing managers’ indices will also be released for the UK and US.

In company results, HSBC, BP, AstraZeneca, Barclays, GlaxoSmithKline, Sainsbury, Royal Dutch Shell, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland report results that will be looked at closely by investors. And across the Atlantic, a blockbuster earnings season will give UK investors a taste of what’s going on in the US and global economies.

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